New recipes

Waffle House Co-Founder Tom Forkner Dies at 98

Waffle House Co-Founder Tom Forkner Dies at 98

The restaurant chain confirmed the death on Thursday

Waffle House’s most famous menu item is its hash browns.

On Wednesday, Waffle House co-founder Tom Forkner died at the age of 98. Forkner’s death follows that of another Waffle House co-founder, Joe Rogers Sr., who died in March at the age of 97.

“Tom will be remembered as a man of honesty and integrity,” Joe Rogers Jr., chairman at Waffle House, said in a press release. “He and my father never envisioned the company would grow into what it is today, nor how thousands of associates would be positively impacted by the opening of that first restaurant.”

Forkner and Rogers Sr. were neighbors when they founded the first Waffle House in Avondale Estates, Georgia, in 1955, Eater reported. Little did they know that the restaurant would expand to almost 2,000 locations across the southern United States.

To read about 10 things you didn’t know about Waffle House, click here.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.


Waffle House co-founder dies, weeks after partner’s death

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

ATLANTA — Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain.

Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II.

Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955.

They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s.

Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4.

The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.”

Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.