Waffle House restaurants are a part of Americana.

They are featured in movies, such as Tin Cup with Kevin Costner. (“I’m a Waffle House guy. Got to stay in touch with that.)  Rosie O’Donnell recognized them on TV and received a “Waffles for Life” certificate.  They are the favorite haunt of late night truckers and teenage pajama parties.   Their black and yellow signs stand tall at interstate highway exits throughout the southeast and midwest.

When you visit one on a busy morning, you are greeted by a cacophony of sounds and smells that can only be described as chaotic.  Waitresses bark patron orders across the kitchen to no one in particular.  Cooks throw eggs and hash browns on the grill in rapid fire.  Plates are quickly filled and servers hustle them off to the counter or a formica table.  If you watch this scene for a few minutes, it’s a wonder that anyone gets what they ordered.

Yet, everyone (or nearly everyone) gets what they ordered. And relatively quickly.  The quality and presentation are remarkably consistent across more than 1500 locations.

How do they do it?