August 24, 2021
If you’re a fan of waffles, then August 24th is your day! While National Waffle Day is a relatively new observation, this delectable, pastry-like breakfast fare traces its origins back to the Middle Ages. “Medieval Home Companion: Housekeeping in the 14th Century” cites a recipe booklet from about 1393 wherein a husband wrote down waffle-making instructions for his young wife.
Since then, waffles have become a mainstay on breakfast tables worldwide. Market research provider Statista estimated that 123.44 million people consumed waffles last year. With a nod to the privately-held Waffle House restaurant chain, let’s take a quick look at some of the leading publicly traded providers of this wondrous breakfast staple.
At first glance, the name Dine Brands Global Inc. (Tii:DIN) may not be all too familiar to you, but as one of the largest full-service dining companies, the company has a number of well-known brands, including IHOP. While the eatery’s Belgian Waffle and Chicken and Waffle dishes hold great consumer appeal, IHOP is looking to add to that by including adult beverages. Earlier this month, the company unveiled its new libations menu of ‘Bubbles, Wine & Brews,’ which features domestically and locally sourced beers and wine options. Though only available at three select IHOP restaurants in San Diego and New Mexico, the restaurant chain plans to expand the menu to New York, Rhode Island, Maryland, Ohio and more in the coming months.
Chicken and waffles are an American mainstay that dates back to Colonial Pennsylvania. In fact, Thomas Jefferson is credited with increasing the dish’s popularity after he purchased four waffle irons during a trip to Amsterdam. Established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn., Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Tii:CBRL) is one restaurant that takes it one step further by offering bite-sized Chicken n’ Waffle Sandwiches. Like many others in the dining business, 2020 was a challenging one for the restaurant chain. However, business is starting to pick up. While comparable store restaurant sales for its third ended April 30 decreased 8.6%, comparable off-premise sales grew 144.0% and represented approximately 23% of restaurant sales.
In addition to owning popular consumer brands such as Pringles, Cheez-It, Special K, Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies, and scores of others, Kellogg Company (Tii:K) sells more waffles in the USA than any other company – an estimated $781 million worth last year. The global food manufacturer acquired the Eggo frozen waffle brand in the 1970s, inundating Saturday morning kid TV shows with the “L’eggo my Eggo” catchphrase in its long-running commercial campaign. In honor of National Waffle Day, Incogmeato by MorningStar Farms (another Kellogg subsidiary) is teaming up with Eggo to release a one-of-a-kind Chik’n and Waffles combo pack. The custom combo pack includes Eggo’s buttermilk waffles and Incogmeato chik’n tenders, which can be layered together and topped with syrup for a new take on the classic chicken and waffles dish.
Waffles are a versatile food that can be sweet or savory and enjoyed as part of breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Be sure to enjoy this wonderful and venerable invention on National Waffle Day and whenever you care to indulge.
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