Marking system used on Waffle House plates.


Waffle House worker shows ‘marking system’ cooks use to communicate orders in viral TikTok

'They gotta decipher the DaVinci code to get a plate out.'


Rachel Kiley


Published Jan 9, 2022   Updated Jan 10, 2022, 10:13 am CST

A Waffle House employee is dishing on the company’s “marking system” for letting cooks know how customers order their food.

“Last time I talked about the marking system, people got so mad,” TikToker @hotsoupandcracker says at the start of his video. The TikTok has received over 368,000 views since it was posted 6 days ago. 

He goes on to explain that line cooks share information with each other via a system of arranging certain condiments and other items on the plate itself, as a way to minimize errors with verbal or written communication.

“Jelly pack at the bottom is scrambled,” he offered as an example of how egg-based orders are prepped. “If you get a mayonnaise pack, face down it’s gonna be scrambled light, face up is gonna be scrambled well.”

Additional arrangements include various placements of cheese slices, napkins, and even sprinkled hash browns.

“Two pieces of cheese next to your scramble mark means it gets cheese, and you can combine the marks together, so that would be scrambled light with cheese,” he said, showing a plate set up with two slices of cheese on the left, an apple butter packet at the bottom, and an upside down mayonnaise packet on the left.

Needless to say, most restaurants don’t function this way, and people were thrown by how complex the system seems.

“Coming from a line cook of 10yrs this is the stupidest and most inconvenient thing I’ve ever seen,” wrote @kevingrant2.

“Why wouldn’t they just use a point of sale system and a kitchen printer like every other restaurant?” another viewer asked.

“They gotta decipher the DaVinci code just to get a plate out,” joked @jay_aye_why. “Food gone take all night to get to the table.”

But Waffle House fans were quick to point out that clearly the system has been working for them. The franchise has thrived for decades, its locations are generally open 24 hours a day, the service is quick, and they are notorious for being able to stay open even in the worst of natural disasters.

“Waffle House is so efficient FEMA uses them as an emergency indicator,” noted @emjay061. “I don’t think we can criticize.”

Although @hotsoupandcracker’s initial video focuses on egg dishes, Waffle House uses a similar method for other menu items as well. The TikToker shared a follow-up video showing off the diagram that explains the system.

It’s certainly complex, and serves as a reminder that people who criticize service industry workers really don’t understand how much effort and skill that type of job takes, whether they use a Waffle House method or not.

As one viewer put it, “So all the teachers that told me I would end up working at Waffle House had high hopes for me after all.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @hotsoupandcracker via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Jan 9, 2022, 3:14 pm CST