Waffle House workers talk about Christmas experience

While many businesses shut down on Christmas, Waffle House keeps its doors open 365 days a year.

The restaurant, which prides itself on rarely shutting down, is known for being one of the places for folks to get a hot meal on Christmas Day. While this year is a little different due to the coronavirus pandemic, the employees at the Waffle House on E. Pine Log Road are still working hard, with the aromas of waffles, hashbrowns and coffee hanging in the air.

This year saw a lot less foot traffic in the restaurant than past Christmases, according to Sabrina Brown, a Waffle House employee.

“Usually it’s packed out, but I guess with the virus, people are kind of scared to come out,” said Brown.

Rainy Day, another employee, seconded this point, saying the restaurant is usually crammed full around 10 a.m. on Christmas morning.

However, the phone was continuously ringing, with many customers choosing to order takeout. An employee would barely hang up before another call would come in. Regardless, the workers were still spreading the Christmas spirit, with many wearing festive sweaters, shirts, masks and even a Santa hat.

Wendy Dunnell, an employee, said she tries to spread cheer when she works on Christmas, which she’s done for the past six years.

“It doesn’t feel like Christmas this year, though,” said Dunnell. “I don’t know what it is.”

Brown echoed her point, saying, “it’s just different, with the masks, having to wear the masks, and the social distancing. I guess it’s just something we’ve never experienced so that’s why it’s different to me. I’m honestly ready for it to be over with.”

Day said she’s been working on Christmas at Waffle House for 20 years. She said while it’s hard work and the busiest day of the year, she enjoys doing it.

“It gets more fun the busier it is,” said Day.

Many of the employees said they had plans after work to spend time with their families. Dunnell said spending time with her family is her favorite part of the season, and hers usually comes in from out of town.

“But, this year, nobody came,” said Dunnell. “I guess that’s why it doesn’t feel like Christmas because everybody’s gone.

“It just feels like another day. It’s crazy.”

Regardless of the differences this Christmas presents, customers who go to Waffle House can expect to be greeted with a smile and a “good morning” and leave with a full stomach and the wish for a “merry Christmas.”