Waffle House Has a Secret Plate-Marking System For Keeping Track of Your Order

Regular customers at Waffle House are well-versed in the various phrases and lingo the servers sling back and forth in the kitchen, but even the most seasoned patrons are likely unfamiliar with the intricacies of the chain’s plate-marking system. Used by the grill operators to keep track of orders, this not-so-secret system is second nature to Waffle House employees. Plates are “marked” as soon as the orders are relayed from the servers. This way, they don’t need to rely solely on memory or a ticket when plating the orders. For those who are curious, or if you want to make a trip to Waffle House to see for yourself, here are some of the markings the employees use. 

  • • A jelly packet on top of a mustard packet means the customer wants an extra egg. •
  •  A jelly packet turned horizontally and placed near the top of a plate means the customer wants an omelet with ham. 
  • • A jelly packet placed vertically at the bottom of a plate means the customer wants scrambled eggs. The same packet, placed at the top of the plate, means the eggs should be cooked sunny-side up. 
  • • Dry toast is indicated with a packet of butter underneath a jelly packet. A butter knife on the plate indicates the customer doesn’t want toast at all. 
  • • An upside-down mayo packet placed near a single vertical jelly packet on the bottom of the plate means the customer wants runny scrambled eggs. If the packet is face up, the eggs should be well-cooked. 
  • • A napkin, topped with a packet of brown sugar, means the customer wants to substitute grits for oatmeal. 
  • • Two pickles placed at the bottom of a sandwich plate indicate a breakfast sandwich with bacon. Move those pickles to either the left, right, or top of the plate, and it indicates different meats or no meat at all. 
  • • A horizontal ketchup packet alone in the mid-section of the plate indicates a sirloin. Its position on the plate (nearer the top or nearer the bottom) indicates one of five different steak temperatures. 

So, the next time you’re at Waffle House, you can not only admire the cook's ability to get your order correct, but their memory as well.