Observational Study By: Sarah Padgett

How do the employees at Waffle House behave and interact with each other and with the customers?

Where, When, and What?

  • Waffle House on tiger boulevard
  • From 2:30-3:07
  • Observations done from a booth in the corner of the restaurant near the back of the kitchen and the grill- the only customer for the majority of time
  • Observed the 7 employees on duty

Employees were numbered 1-7 based on the order of their appearance during the observation in order to keep track of who was participating in what action.

  • Employee 1: young white female (my waitress)
  • Employee 2: young African American male (cook)
  • Employee 3: young white female (waitress)
  • Employee 4: young white female (waitress)
  • Employee 5: middle aged female (maybe manager or lead)
  • Employee 6: young African American male (cook)
  • Employee 7: young-middle aged white male- dressed in a yellow colored shirt opposed to grey or black like the other employees (maybe owner- hiring manager)
  • All employees except for Employee 7 appeared to be roughly within the same economic class


  • interacting socially with other employees often
  • completing task oriented actions when not socializing
  • interacted with other employees by asking them if the need help or asking other employees for help
  • interacting with the few customer who came


Sense of Family
  • Sense of community and concern for the other employees they were surrounded with
  • Willingness to help the other employees with their tasks
  • Sharing of personal and work related problems revealed a sense of community friendship among the employees
  • Shared a similar collection of personal problems
Let me know if you need help.
I'm here for you if you need anything
I'm rooting for you
Power Dynamic
  • People in positions of power still treated the employees in submission to them as it they were a "family" with a sense of equality and concern
  • Despite the superiority, all employees shared personal problems and work related concerns with people in positions of power
  • Sense of favoritism shown from Employee 7 to Employee 3 by spending most of his time speaking with her about issues in her personal and work life
Reliability/Connection With Customers
  • Employee 1 established a sense of commonality with me when she asked for my student ID
  • Welcoming customers to the restaurant saying "y'all" and inviting them into a sense of "family"
  • Connections and use of language lead to an idea of inclusion and everyone is similar or in a similar situation
  • Used class and commonality of problems as a source of reliability between the employees
Restrictions/Problems Associated With Work
  • Workers often complain to Employee 7 about the complications that arose during work
  • Spoke to each other of problems with the schedule and lack of communication
  • Exchanged forms of gossip about one employee who was perceived as being "fired"- Employee 7 corrected their assumption


Created with images by Steve Snodgrass - "Waffle House" • rhiannoncharisse - "I like that Waffle House is gettin' in the Instagram game. @wh_1955 attn @psuway" • rpavich - "Waffle House interior" • brownpau - "Waffle House Hash Brown Terminology" • ErnestDuffoo - "Untitled" • tiff85 - "Waffle House" • bradley j - "Waffle House" • ashleeappendicitus - "Waffle House" • hectorir - "Vortex & Waffle House (19 of 25)" • Blue MauMau - "Waffle House in B&W"

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