Terran Mayr

Terran Mayr is a 21 year old former waitress of Waffle House. She is currently attempting to enroll into school to further her education, but finds it difficult to manage time to do so with her 2 year old son, Nolan. Here is her story:

How long did you work at Waffle House?
“One month.”
How long did you train?
“One week.”
Was training difficult?
How much do you get paid?
“$3.00 an hour plus tips.”
Do you ever make enough tips to equal out to minimum wage?
“I never made enough in one night to equal minimum wage.”
Did Waffle House compensate you when they realized you weren’t making minimum wage with your tips?
Did you enjoy your work?
“No, I hated that job.”
How did it compare to your other work?
“It was probably the second worst job I’ve ever had. They demand way too much for what they’re paying.”
What did you like about your job at Waffle House?
“Some of the co-workers made it bearable.”
What didn’t you like about your job?
“The system, or “Waffle House Way”, over complicates things. And the waitresses shouldn’t have to wash dishes.”
What, if anything, would you change about it?
“It kinda felt like I was working in a shoe box. I would open up the space and give them room to work.”
So you ended up not staying long at all?
“No, just a month. I left when something better presented itself.”
How well were you treated there?
“Not great.”
Anything else you would like to add?
“Yea, but it’s against my religion.”

Obviously a very disgruntled employee. What type of working conditions do they have to get this type of reactions from their former employees? Keep checking us out, there are more interviews to come. Hopefully one from one of their managers, soon.

Brandi Thomas

Brandi Thomas is a 23 year old waitress with some college education. She has been working in restaurants for 9 years. Here is her story:

How long have you been working for Waffle House?
“A year and nine months.”
How long did you train?
“One week.”
Was training difficult?
Do you collect enough tips during your shift to make minimum wage?
Does Waffle House compensate you when you don’t?
Is it worth it?
“Sometimes, but not when it’s slow.”
Do you enjoy working at Waffle House?
“For the most part.”
How does it compare to other jobs?
“Bout the same. It’s a job, pays the bills.”
What do you like about working at Waffle House?
“The people I work with, and the customers.”
What don’t you like about working at Waffle House?
“Not enough tips, rude customers, and washing dishes.”
If you could change anything about working at Waffle House, what would it be?
“Waitresses don’t make enough, so the pay would be a big thing.”
Do you plan on staying at Waffle House long?
“Yes, unless something better comes along. So far that hasn’t happened, so…”
How well are you treated?
“For the most part good. I haven’t had any problems.”
Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience at Waffle House?
“Nope, not really.”

After interviewing Brandi, I believe that there might not be any waitresses that make minimum wage on a regular basis. Also, how many other restaurants have their waitresses washing dishes for the amount of pay they receive? I hope to get an interview with a manager soon. Maybe the Kelly Act has something to do with this…

Brandy Parrish

Brandy Parrish is a 35 year old waitress with two years of college education studying music. She is an aspiring chef, and would like to go back to college for culinary arts. Here is her story:

How long have you worked here?
“5 months.”
How long did you train?
“2 weeks.”
Was training difficult?
“Not difficult, but there was too much information to take in all at once.”
How much do you get paid?
“$3.05 plus tips.”
Do you collect enough tips to add up to minimum wage?
Does Waffle House compensate you? You know, to make sure you’re still making minimum wage?
“No. I was told in the beginning that it’s best NOT to claim my tips.”
Is it worth it?
“Sometimes it’s worth it, but I wish I could make more.”
How does it compare to your other work?
“This is harder than any other job, considering all I have to do.”
What do you like about your job?
“Meeting new people, making friends with certain co-workers… And the management is good about working with you if you have problems.”
What don’t you like about your job?
“They demand too much for what they pay.”
What, if anything, would you change about it?
“I’d stop washing dishes for $3.05 an hour. Also, I would make a policy that would somehow do away with “high school drama” and gossiping.
Do you plan on staying long?
“Yes, but I would like to go to college to be a chef.”
How well are you treated?
“As far as management, they are pretty wonderful.”
Anything you would like to add?
“A regular customer named Clayton is trying to start something called a Kelly Act. I support it 100%”

I was shocked to discover that Waffle House did not compensate her when she didn’t collect enough tips. I’ll try to interview a manager and inquire about this. I will also attempt to contact Clayton for more information regarding the Kelly Act. In general, I would say that although Brandy has some issues with her employer, she is still a happy employee and enjoys her job as a Waffle House waitress.

Matthew Street

Matthew Street is a 25 year old cook currently working at Waffle House. He has a Masters in Biology after studying for 4 years, and is eagerly waiting for an opportunity to go to medical school. Here is his story:

Me: How long have you worked at Waffle House?
Matthew: “I’ve been here about six months.”
Me: How long did you train?
Matthew: “I trained for five days. Two in “school”, three on the line, but one of those days was washing dishes.”
Me: Was training difficult?
Matthew: “Not really. Had to pretty much figure out most of it on my own, though. My first night alone I had to go online and learn how to make sunny side up eggs.”
Me: How much restaurant experience do you have?
Matthew: ” About four years back in high school, and six months here, so four and a half, I guess.”
Me: How much do you get paid?
Matthew: “Depends on where I work, really. In Greensboro, around $8.20, but here [Randleman] I make about $8.00.”
Me: Is it worth it?
Matthew: “Pays my bills, that’s all I can say. It’s a job.”
Me: What makes it worth it?
Matthew: “It’s just a job until I get back into med school.”
Me: Do you enjoy your work?
Matthew: “Yes.”
Me: How does it compare to previous jobs?
Matthew: “It’s a lot more fun because of my co-workers.”
Me: What do you like about your job?
Matthew: “Meeting and talking to the regular customers, and the co-workers.”
Me: What don’t you like about your job?
Matthew: “Having to come in on my days off.”
Me: What, if anything, would you change about Waffle House?
Matthew: “Having to work on Holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. On Thanksgiving, we only made about $30.00 on second shift.”
Me: They pretty much lost money, then?
Matthew: “Yes.”
Me: Do you plan on staying long?
Matthew: “As long as it takes to get back into school.”
Me: How well are you treated by the company?
Matthew: “Pretty good.”
Me: Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked already?
Matthew: “Once I leave, I’ll miss my co-workers… The randomness…”

I enjoyed interviewing Matthew. I found it pleasing that although I had my own opinion about working at Waffle House, there were definitely others that had much different points of view about their working situations at Waffle House. He’s content there, and seems to be happy staying there until he’s able to get enrolled in Medical School. I wish him all the luck in the world.

Answering Queries

“Pearl River, Louisiana arrived from google.com on “A Day In The Life Of A Waffle House Employee” by searching for how does waffle house pay cooks.”  This is a brief look at what I see when I use my Feedjit Live tool on my blog. I can view the live feed and get a list of who (location only) came to my blog, how and when. I like this tool because I can actually see what YOU, the reader, want to know. In response to “Pearl River’s” question, I’m not sure that I can answer for EVERY Waffle House in America, but I’ve worked for franchise and corporate both, and in both situations, every employee has been paid in cash every week. (excepting ONE Waffle House in Nashville, TN that paid in checks) However, they do still have you fill out the usual tax forms and normal new hire paperwork you would expect to fill out at any other new job. They still take taxes out. They just don’t pay you with a check. You still get a printout with your hours, net earnings, gross pay, what you paid out in taxes, etc.
If you were referring to how WELL Waffle House pays their employees, that really all depends. The first Waffle House I ever had the privilege of working at was good for paying what you were worth. That was at the Waffle House in Bellevue (Nashville, TN). The owner of that franchise was Jim Shaw III, and he took care of you as long as you took care of him. I wasn’t there a week and my first paycheck (for training) came with a $.50 raise because I was a fast learner and showed promise. Three months later I was earning $8.50 an hour (in 2005) when I was hired in at $7.00 an hour. I continued to work there for another 6 months before I moved to High Point, NC and started working at a Waffle House in Archdale, one town over. I was started at $6.80 an hour. About a month later I got a $.20 raise. A few years later federal minimum wage went up to $7.25, and I was stuck there, training new cooks at the same payrate. That franchise was owned by Gary Fly. He later sold to corporate, but this happened. Many employees had to wait another two weeks to cash their checks. Franchise, as it happens, didn’t pay much better… I have to run for now, but check in soon for more updates!


5 Minute Update

Lately I’ve been re-learning WordPress (they’ve updated since I’ve been in front of a computer). Sorry it’s taking awhile for the posts, but I’m busy re-wiring the site to customize the look and layout of different posts. I should be posting updates soon. Oh, by the way. I was offered a part time job back at Waffle House. Imagine that…


Heading To Work

Waffle House at NightImage by zemistor via Flickr

Getting ready to go for another long night of pretty much not doing anything. I’m bringing the camera tonight, maybe I’ll be able to get some pictures of a few regulars, maybe a couple shots of me at work actually doing something. I tell you, Waffle House isn’t what it used to be. I remember I used to punch in and have to get straight to work cooking, but that was out in Nashville, TN, where we were surrounded by bars. We used to average at least $1,000 a night, but here we’ll be lucky to do $300. The holidays are right around the corner, though, and we’re expecting things to pick up this weekend. They have so many people staffed that day, it’s ridiculous. If it’s anything like two years ago, though, we’ll need it. We did over $3,000 in just seven hours. Well, that’s it for this post. I’ll be back in the morning to let you all know how it went… or didn’t, anyway. God Bless!

Matthew Apperson