Waffle House has long been known for keeping its doors open during even the worst natural disasters, but a tweet that’s gone viral alleges that they may have gone a little too far in trying to stay open during Hurricane Harvey.
The tweet, shared by Buzzfeed reporter Lam Thuy Vo, alleges that a Waffle House “night manager” named Amie was forced come to work at a Houston outpost of the restaurant before the storm began. Subsequently, Amie was stuck inside the Waffle House, and had to sleep at the restaurant for two days as water creeped into the building. Since the tweet was posted, it’s racked up thousands of shares.
Scope out the full allegations below:
There are, however, some details of this reporting that didn’t quite add up. According to GlassDoor, the lowest reported manager salary at Waffle House, for a “relief manager,” is $10 per hour. Servers and salespeople are paid the federally-mandated minimum wage for tipped workers, and according to Waffle House’s website, store managers earn a minimum of $45,000 per year. Even if that employee was paid the $3.13 per hour tipped wage, federal law requires that employers make up the difference when a server’s tips don’t add up to the minimum hourly wage of $7.25 per hour.
After speaking with the store manager and franchise owner of the Waffle House location, Waffle House public relations director Pat Warner was able to confirm that the employee is safe. “There are some things there that are troubling, and we’d like to know what happened and where it was,” says Warner. “We’re trying to reach out to the associate to make sure that she is compensated correctly and find out more about how this situation happened.”
Waffle House provided the following statement in response to the Buzzfeed reporter’s allegations:
“According to our franchise owner and restaurant manager, Amie worked on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Water was coming into the restaurant, so [Waffle House] got hotel rooms for employees at the Moonlight Inn, which is right behind the restaurant. Amie checked into the hotel and stayed there until Monday. The restaurant shut down on Sunday at 8:30 a.m., and was unable to open until Tuesday morning. Amie returned to work on Wednesday night, carpooling with another associate. Our restaurant managers are double-checking the payroll records to make sure that she, and all associates, were compensated fairly.”
Unfortunately, Amie wasn’t the only Waffle House employee to end up stranded as Harvey made its impact on Houston. “We have 700 associates in Houston, and that’s happened a lot,” says Warner. “The first part of our crisis response is taking care of our associates, so we have some procedures in place to get those associates into hotels and keep them safe.”
Update, 12:55 p.m.: A representative for Waffle House tells Eater that the employee in question, Amie, is a server at the restaurant. This post has since been updated to reflect that.
Update, 2:37 p.m.: Buzzfeed reporter Lam Thuy Vo has since deleted the tweet detailing Amie’s story, citing “inconsistencies” in the employee’s statement.
I deleted the original tweet after further reporting showed inconsistencies in the subject's story. Updates will be posted on this thread.— Lam Thuy Vo (@lamthuyvo) August 31, 2017