Well into its seventh decade of existence, the American institution Waffle House sports more than 2,100 locations across 25 of these United States, all of them open practically all the time and all of them looking practically alike. For those intimately familiar with the chain, its design, a simple rectangular box topped with yellow signage is ubiquitous. But it turns out there’s an interesting reason why almost every location looks kind of like a shoebox.
Where McDonald's and Burger King often spring for upscale, "PlayPlace," or otherwise altered versions of their fast-food foundations, Waffle House's architecture rarely changes from place to place, and when it is different, it's a big deal.
The reason for that is pretty simple, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Waffle House's iconically elongated "shoebox" design, introduced in the chain's sixth location, was chosen to better handle local 1960s real estate regulations that used store front size -- not square footage -- to calculate land costs and taxes owed.