Alex Ciaramitaro just graduated High School, and like many of us who've just received our diploma, what to do with it and the future seemed unclear. So what did Alex do the day after he removed his cap & gown? He started Waffle House Wednesdays! Looks like we have an entrepreneur on our hands.... This week Andy from Retro Brand talks briefly with Alex and what Waffle House Wednesday is all about.
Andy: Let's get right to it Alex - What exactly is Waffle House Wednesday, and what prompted you to start it up the day after High School graduation?
Alex: Simply put, Waffle House Wednesday is a weekly get together for friends who want to socialize, meet new people, and have a pretty good time all the while enjoying the food and friendly staff at our local Waffle House in Columbia, Tennessee.
Getting this off the ground the day after graduation had much more to do with finding a place to hang out that was open in our town on a Wednesday night, then a well thought out calculated plan.
Andy: Can you give us some details about the original "hang out" and how Waffle House Wednesday has grown?
Alex: Everything in our town was basically closed that night and one of my friends brought up that Waffle House is always open, so we decided to go there and hang out. They had a juke box in there, and the four of us listened to tunes, hung out, had some classic Waffle house food and enjoyed each others company. I suggested to the others that this would be a good place to try and meet every Wednesday and that we should try and get the word out. I received a unanimous "That would be cool," and decided I would post on my Facebook page and see what response it would bring.
Andy: Did you get the response you were looking for?
Alex: The first week we had about a dozen people show up - not bad. The following week there were 14, then 18, then 22, then 30. The biggest crowd we've had was 34 people. We're glad that it was able to catch on and is now something everybody looks forward to.
Andy: I'm sure the folks at Waffle House like it too! What does a group of High School & College kids do on a weekly basis to keep things interesting?
Alex: Ah, yes, the Management and staff at the Waffle House do support us 100% and are really super friendly. We're a pretty respectable bunch and there's no drinking or rowdiness or anything like that.
We've been able to keep things interesting by having a different theme to "dress up" for every week and I started a Waffle House Wednesday Facebook page to help promote. For holidays like Halloween and Christmas, it's a given we'll all dress up appropriately, but recently we're trying to keep in step with current events. For example, with the recent Boston Marathon bombings we decided to honor them a few weeks ago. We wore Red, White, & Blue and some people wore Red Sox & Patriots gear. We also sell Waffle House coupons in which the proceeds will go to a local 4 year old boy in Columbia who has cancer. Then the week after Boston, we played out a similar scenario but with a "Texas" theme to show support for the victims of the recent chemical plant explosion. Happily, last week our theme was more about limo's & prom night.
Andy: That is really fantastic and thoughtful to show support, and also raising funds for a young boy with cancer is so commendable, Alex. Kudos. Speaking of Limo's, I noticed you behind the wheel of what appeared to be a Waffle House Limo of sorts on your Facebook page. An RV? What's up with that?
Alex: This may seem strange, but our town has an annual Mule Day parade (about 1,000 Mules are in the parade!) and all of the local businesses get involved and it's a pretty major event. The Waffle House management asked if our group would like to ride the Waffle House float and we obliged. They rolled in this huge RV wrapped like a Waffle House restaurant and I got to sit behind the wheel. Not a limo, but pretty cool none the less.
Andy: That's not strange, that's awesome. And thanks for spending a little time with us today and continued success with Waffle House Wednesday. You can add Atlanta, Ga., to the growing WHW family along with the Phoenix and Colorado chapters, although I think we're going to keep our weekly theme to "Three old buddies enjoying the best coffee and breakfast in the world every Wednesday morning at Waffle House."
We encourage you to start your own version of Waffle House Wednesday and share your stories & photo's with us & Alex and his friends at WHW.
Waffle House Wednesday
1104 Nashville Hwy
Columbia, TN 38401