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Waffle House CEO on reopening restaurants: ‘The restoration of business is not business as usual’

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Waffle House CEO on reopening restaurants: ‘The restoration of business is not business as usual’

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer joined “Bill Hemmer Reports” Tuesday to discuss the return of dine-in services at many of the chain’s 400 restaurants in Georgia as part of the state’s reopening process amid the coronavirus pandemic.”We’re not seeing a big…

Waffle House CEO on reopening restaurants: ‘The restoration of business is not business as usual’

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Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer joined “Bill Hemmer Reports” Tuesday to discuss the return of dine-in services at many of the chain’s 400 restaurants in Georgia as part of the state’s reopening process amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re not seeing a big rush of business, we didn’t expect that everyone was going to come rushing back out,” Ehmer said. “I think what we’re finding is, most of the folks are behaving and doing the things according to all the guidelines.”

Ehmer noted that at one Waffle House location in a state not subject to strict lockdowns, bags were placed over counter seats in patterns to keep a gap of approximately six feet between customers, while booths and tables were either open or closed in order to keep similar spacing.

Ehmer said that restaurant crews are taking extra precautions to sanitize and clean the locations regularly, and added that he hopes Waffle House will be able to provide jobs for people who are struggling as a result of job losses imposed by the pandemic.

“Our customers were so happy to be back,” Ehmer said. “We have some of the greatest customers in the world. I think I’ve got the best job in the world, because our associates and our customers are just phenomenal.”

Ehmer conceded that he might have different feelings about reopening dine-in service if Wafle House had locations in the hard-hit New York City area (the nearest location is 90 miles away in Hellertown, Pa.).

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But in the southeast, where governors are reopening their economies, the actions his company has been taking appear to bode well for the future.

“I think what we’re proving right now is that the comeback, the restoration of business is not business as usual,” Ehmer said. “It is a slow and methodical process to safely introduce activity back into our economy, and most importantly, [get] people back to work doing things in a safe manner. And it is possible, in a reduced capacity, to begin to get the wheels turning a little bit, and give people hope, and give people jobs.”

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