Waffle House is often a go-to place for those looking for breakfast food no matter what time of day it is.
Despite its fast-casual setting, the prices at Waffle House tend to be on the higher side.
You may wonder what makes Waffle House charge such high prices for its food.
Why Is Waffle House So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average price of a meal at Waffle House is between $10 and $18.
Waffle House is expensive because of the appeal of its all-day breakfast service, the costs of operating a 24-hour business, and high food costs.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. All-Day Breakfast Appeal
As its name might suggest, Waffle House specializes in selling breakfast items no matter what time of day it is.
You can enjoy breakfast items like its famous waffles, various hashbrown bowls, egg sandwiches, and other delicious sides throughout the day.
While this makes Waffle House stand apart from its competitors, it’s also one of the reasons why it’s expensive.
Waffle House doesn’t focus on breakfast food alone.
It also sells lunch and dinner.
However, it keeps its breakfast menu available throughout the day.
This means that its cooks are constantly having to make breakfast food on top of the other foods that people are ordering.
This makes the restaurant expensive because it needs to have a constant supply of breakfast ingredients on hand.
Other restaurants are able to save on costs because they only serve breakfast for a limited number of hours.
It helps them extend their supplies so they don’t have to re-order them as often.
That isn’t the case at Waffle House.
It has slightly higher food costs because it serves breakfast all day.
Waffle House is expensive because of the high food costs associated with an all-day breakfast menu.
2. 24-Hour Operation Costs
A lot of Waffle House restaurants are also open 24 hours.
When they say that you can have breakfast whenever you want, they really mean it.
While being open for 24 hours means that the Waffle House can serve customers throughout the day and night, it also means its costs are a bit higher.
For one, its energy costs are going to be higher.
A restaurant that closes at night is able to save on energy costs.
The lights are off and no one is cooking in the kitchen.
A restaurant that’s open 24 hours is going to constantly be using energy.
It’s also going to have higher labor costs.
The staff that needs to be on hand to help those who come in late at night need payment.
Restaurants that close at night are able to save money on labor since no one is working.
Waffle House has higher operating costs because it runs for 24 hours.
To ensure it’s able to cover those higher costs, it sells food at higher prices.
Waffle House is expensive because of the higher costs it faces with 24-hour operations.
3. Rewards Program Costs
Waffle House has a rewards program which it calls the Regulars Club.
As a Regulars Club member, you can earn points when you dine at Waffle House.
The more points you earn, the more rewards you can unlock.
Some of the rewards grant you things like exclusive coupons, deals, and even free orders from time to time.
For example, when you first sign up for the Regulars Club, you receive a free order of hashbrowns.
You can also learn about upcoming deals or promotions and other information.
Clearly, you receive quite a few benefits by being a rewards member.
While this is great for customers, it does add some costs to Waffle House.
Giving away free food always results in a loss of money.
The restaurant is not earning money for the free food that it served.
If this happens too quickly or too often, then it might end up losing more money than it’s taking in.
To ensure that doesn’t happen, Waffle House must have a “rainy day fund” of sorts.
Higher prices allow it to build that cushion.
Waffle House is expensive because of the costs associated with its rewards program.
4. Focus On Fresh Fruit
Waffle House wants to ensure that it serves high-quality food.
To reach that goal, it focuses on providing fresh fruit.
In particular, it partners with Minute Maid to offer fresh orange juice.
Waffle House has a grove-to-glass mindset.
The company wants to minimize the steps taken between the oranges being harvested from the grove to their arrival at the restaurant.
The result is a glass of orange juice that tastes fresh and refreshing.
Fresh fruit is expensive.
For one, it usually means that the company needs to work with local farmers.
Fruit from American farmers tends to be more expensive than fruit from outside of the United States because American farmers endure higher costs.
While the customers get the advantage of enjoying a fresh glass of orange juice, Waffle House faces some high costs to make it happen.
To offset those costs, the restaurant needs to charge high prices.
There are also sometimes problems that farmers encounter while attempting to grow oranges.
Whether it’s hurricanes, drought conditions, diseases, or other problems, farmers might find themselves facing shortages.
Since there aren’t as many oranges to go around, anyone who wants to buy oranges has to pay higher prices for them.
With higher acquisition costs come higher prices from Waffle House.
Waffle House is expensive because of its focus on providing fresh fruit which is expensive.
5. American-Grown Produce
Another reason Waffle House is expensive is that it sources the majority, if not all, of its ingredients from American farmers and manufacturers.
This makes the restaurant expensive because American farms and manufacturers tend to be more expensive than farmers and manufacturers located in other countries.
American farmers typically have higher costs of living, so they need to sell at higher prices to cover those costs.
Many farmers also employ workers who live in the United States.
They also have high costs of living.
In order to pay their bills, they need decent wages.
Farmers have to pay them higher wages which only increases their costs.
Buying American products tends to be more expensive than buying products made in countries where the cost of living is lower.
The benefit of buying American produce is that it’s fresh and usually high-quality.
Waffle House is also supporting American workers by buying from American farms.
Those who also want to support local farmers might choose to eat at Waffle House as a result.
There’s a certain marketing strategy behind the choice as well.
Regardless, since Waffle House faces higher costs buying from American farmers, the company charges higher prices for its food.
Waffle House is expensive because it buys its produce from local, American farmers.
6. Humane And Sustainable Egg Sourcing
Eggs are a vital part of most breakfast meals.
They are an essential part of egg sandwiches and are wonderful sides as well.
Because of how popular eggs are as a breakfast item, it makes sense that Waffle House offers a plethora of different egg dishes.
You might find that its various meals featuring eggs tend to be on the more expensive side.
That’s because Waffle House buys slightly more expensive eggs than other restaurants do.
It has a policy on humane egg sourcing.
For one, it sources its eggs from a reliable source that practices humane egg raising.
These farmers keep their chickens fed well and are happy to ensure they produce high-quality eggs.
This is a more expensive way to produce eggs.
The company could just lock the chickens in cages and keep them there as they lay eggs.
Because of its focus on sustainability and humane treatment, Waffle House doesn’t want to support that sort of farming technique.
As such, it works with farmers who treat their chickens well.
Since the farmers take on more costs in raising their chickens, they sell their eggs at higher prices.
Waffle House ends up taking on more costs as well, so it needs to sell its dishes at higher prices, too.
Waffle House is expensive because of its higher egg costs.
7. Fresh Milk Costs
Waffle House has fresh orange juice and also fresh milk.
Many Waffle Houses work with local farmers to source their milk.
Again, this makes Waffle House expensive because the company is working with local, American farmers.
The cost of raising cattle can be quite high on some farms.
Certain farmers spend a lot of money on their cows to ensure they produce clean, high-quality milk.
Since they have high expenses, they sell their milk at high prices.
Waffle House wants to ensure its customers receive high-quality milk.
It takes on those costs, then covers them with high prices of its own.
The benefit for the customer is that they’re able to drink fresh milk that usually came from a farm only a few miles away.
It’s a type of quality that not every restaurant is able to produce.
Because of its freshness, some customers may even be willing to pay more for it.
Either way, Waffle House has to put a more expensive price on its milk and milk products because of the higher costs it takes on in providing it.
Waffle House is expensive because of the high cost of milk.
8. Sustainable Coffee Bean Sourcing
As a breakfast restaurant, coffee is an important part of Waffle House’s menu offerings.
If it doesn’t make good coffee, then it isn’t much of a breakfast joint.
The problem with coffee is that sourcing coffee beans isn’t always sustainable.
Since coffee beans grow in tropical areas, they’re often a contributing factor to deforestation.
Some farmers might clear portions of rainforest to make room to plant coffee trees.
That can result in habitat loss and a dwindling ecological landscape.
Waffle House supports coffee farmers who practice sustainable farming.
These are farmers who do what they can to make the most of what they have.
Yet, that means that they’re not always able to meet the demands of their customers.
If their supply of coffee beans doesn’t meet demand, then they’re going to sell their beans at higher prices.
Waffle House has to pay more money to source their beans.
Since it’s taking on higher costs, it’s selling the coffee at higher prices.
Waffle House is expensive because it buys its coffee beans from sustainable sources.
9. Vegetarian-Fed Chicken
Although Waffle House is best known for its breakfast items, it has a lunch and dinner menu, too.
Some of its menu items feature chicken.
Waffle House is aware that some of its customers are wary of eating meat that’s treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.
To ensure customers are eating as clean meat as possible, Waffle House uses suppliers that feed their chickens vegetables and plants.
This is a more expensive way of feeding chickens, however, so farmers typically sell their vegetarian-fed chickens at higher prices.
Waffle House has to offset its own costs, so it sells its chicken meals at higher prices.
Waffle House is expensive because it uses more expensive chicken meat in its dishes.
10. American-Raised Pork Products
Finally, Waffle House is also mindful of where it sources its pork products from.
Whether it’s ham, bacon, or some other pork-made product, the quality of the meat matters.
Waffle House buys its pork from American farmers because it’s fresher.
However, because the farms are in America, the price of pork tends to be more expensive.
Waffle House’s pork products also tend to be a bit more expensive as a result.
Waffle House is expensive because it buys its pork from more expensive farms based in the United States.