Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a server working at Waffle House? If you have visited this restaurant in the past, I’m sure you remember the smell of those delicious waffles as well as the lively environment with dishes clanking and coffee being poured into cups.
Most people would never know it, but there’s more under the hood of working at Waffle House than people would imagine. The following is a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to be a host, server, a cook, or someone in management at Waffle House.
Working at Waffle House
The reviews by employees for working at this restaurant chain differ considerably. For example, while some servers say they love working there because the tips given by customers are great, others say business is sometimes very slow and there aren’t many tips, so their pay is really low.
Generally, Waffle House cooks say they have enjoyed working there and although many said the pay was a little too low, it was a fun working environment and their days would go by really fast because they were so busy.
Managers talked about how good the compensation was and some said they didn’t have to work as many extra hours as typical supervisors every day.
Overall, Waffle House employees gave average ratings for this restaurant chain but above-average ratings for the fact that you can advance within the company and become a pretty well-paid unit manager someday.
- Schedules are flexible
- Coworkers are friendly and you feel like part of a family
- Tips are very good for servers
- Free uniforms are provided
- Excellent opportunity for growth within the company
- Good training for all staff members
- Management is very concerned about their employees being happy
- The low base pay for servers is difficult on days when customers leave very few tips
- Some full-time employees are not scheduled enough work hours every week
- Some customers are very difficult and rude
- Coworkers are sometimes unreliable
- Good management is hit or miss
- You have to be on your feet from 6 to 10 hours every day
Jobs at Waffle House
There are five main positions available at any given time at your local Waffle House. They are; server, door Corp, Cook, manager trainee, and unit manager. There are also limited opportunities to become a district manager and a division manager.
Waffle House Server
As a server, you are in a fairly confined area where it’s easier to move from table to table. This is a position where even an entry-level worker can take the job, receive very little training and become good at this position, and end up making quite a bit of money.
Many Waffle House servers say the amount of money you can make in one shift is a direct reflection of how you treat your customers. If you have a bad attitude, customers can sense that and your daily tips will suffer.
However, if you have a happy attitude and treat your customers in a friendly manner attending to their every need, you’re likely to make far more money in tips every day. One specific employee talked about how she was always smiling and joking with her customers, and she said if you can make them smile and laugh, your tips will go up considerably!
Just so you know, a server’s base pay is very low in accordance with industry standards for jobs that rely on tips. However, some Waffle House servers make up to $20 an hour or more because of their excellent service and ability to earn good tips.
Waffle House Door Corp
The name door corp is actually the Waffle House name for the host or hostess. This is a position that can get very hectic when your store is full, so it requires good people skills and plenty of patience and understanding.
You have to be mindful of taking names and filling the tables in an orderly manner. Sometimes, you’ll get an occasional customer who is dissatisfied because he or she believes another party was given preference over them even though they arrived at the restaurant before them.
You’re going to have situations where there is a table for four available with four people waiting even though those people are lower on the waiting list than the party of two who got there first and have been waiting patiently to be seated.
This is where your personality needs to shine through in order to make the best decision for everyone involved while trying to maximize the profit of your restaurant.
Waffle House Cook
In this position, also referred to as a grill operator, you are the star of the show. As servers call out the orders, you jump right to the orders and fulfill them with your skill and expertise.
Anyone who has been to a Waffle House and has seen a grill cook in action can appreciate the talent involved to be in this position. This can be an entry-level position where you will be trained by staff members in a very short time to learn great short-order cooking skills.
Sometimes, grill operators will double up as servers if needed. This means you will probably have a chance to cross train as a server if you are hired for this position.
Waffle House Manager Trainee
This is a job that prepares you to become a unit manager in a very short time. You’re going to be working with your “training unit managers” who will teach you everything you need to know in order to run your own store.
The training program will last 9 to 12 weeks and you will also have an opportunity to visit the corporate office for four days.
Once you have received this training in a very short time, you are going to be entrusted to begin running your very own restaurant at different locations under the supervision of your trainer.
Once you have successfully completed the program, you will be given your own restaurant and you will be the unit manager.
Waffle House Unit Manager
As a Waffle House Unit Manager, you will teach, retrain, and know everything there is to know about the business. You’ll be able to cook, clean, and lead your employees to success.
Your job at this point, aside from running your restaurant smoothly and profitably, is to build relationships with customers and surrounding communities.
Additionally, you will be compensated according to your performance. This means the profitability of your store correlates directly to how much you are going to receive in salary.
How to Apply at Waffle House
Choose either “Hourly Associate” or “Management Associates” and when you are redirected to the following page, click the “Apply Now” button.
When you are redirected to the following page you will be prompted to create a new account so that you can begin the Waffle House application process. This will include having to verify your account via an email or text message.
Once you create your account, you are ready to apply. Simply follow the instructions and complete the application in the comfort of your home or another quiet area where you can concentrate and fill it out completely and accurately.
Waffle House Hiring Process
After you apply online, a hiring manager will contact you within 2 to 3 business days. You will be asked to come in for an interview and you will be asked very simple questions such as:
- What are your future goals while working with Waffle House?
- Do you have any experience in your position?
- Tell us about yourself.
- Tell me about a difficult situation with a customer or someone that you encountered, and how you resolved it.
- What hours and days are you available for work?
Sometimes, you will be hired right on the spot. Either way, once you are hired, you will attend a training class for approximately two days, then you’ll work in an actual waffle house restaurant for three days under direct supervision.
Minimum Age to Work at Waffle House
You have to be at least 16 years of age to work at Waffle House. However, you can’t apply for the position of grill operator until you are 18 years of age.
This is obviously because of the liability factor of working in a hot kitchen and getting hurt in a dangerous environment for a 16 or 17-year-old.
Does Waffle House Drug Test?
Generally, Waffle House does not drug test its hourly employees before they hire them. However, if you are applying for a management position, you should expect a thorough background check by Waffle House, as well as a drug test.
Waffle house offers a pretty good and comprehensive benefits plan for his employees. You can choose from three different plans, each costing a little more than the other but offering more benefits. For example, workers report that if you choose the more expensive health plan at $61 a week, it carries a $950 deductible and will cover 80% of your medical expenses.
The cheapest plan comes in at about $15 a week and it covers doctor visits as well as prescriptions, but the hospital or emergency visits are not included. Also, they have a dental plan that only costs about $4 a week.
As far as paid vacation goes, you get one week after a full year of work, then one week after every six months thereafter. Additionally, you get three weeks of paid vacation after 10 years.
Waffle house also offers a 75% match when you contribute to your 401(k) plan. It also offers its employees a stock option plan.
History of Waffle House
In 1955, two neighbors joined forces together and opened up the first Waffle House in Avondale Estates, GA.
Tom Forkner and Joe Rogers Sr. Quickly saw how customers had a need for really good food served quickly by people who actually cared. These two gentlemen recognized that by making their workers happy in the workplace, this would be a win-win situation for employees and customers.
Since that first day, Waffle House has been operating their restaurants 24 hours a day, every day of the week, and every day of the year.
There are currently over 2,100 locations across the southern United States and it employs well over 6,000 employees.
A job as a server at Waffle House can either be a well-paying one or one that can use a lot of improvement. It all depends on the restaurant you choose in terms of whether it is profitable or not.
There are some Waffle House restaurants that don’t do as much business as others. Try your best to pick and choose one with a high volume of traffic and a loyal customer base.
You can do this by visiting your area WH restaurants and speaking with your servers.
Cooks will find the working atmosphere to be one that’s fun, energetic, and extremely fast-paced. At times, a cook at this restaurant will not even have time to go to the bathroom!
For those who want a career in management, this is an excellent opportunity to advance very quickly within the system. Waffle house is well known for promoting its managers from within.
Many workers have started out as door corp or servers and within a year’s time, have become manager trainees. Of course, we now know that a manager trainee can become a full-fledged and fairly highly-paid unit manager within 9 to 12 weeks!