Waffle House to start accepting credit cards

LAWRENCEVILLE - An Atlanta landmark restaurant chain known for its "scattered, smothered and covered" hashbrowns is finally embracing the plastic age.

Waffle House, which has maintained a cash-only policy for 50 years, will soon take Visa and Mastercard.

In a news release issued Monday, Norcross-based Waffle House said the credit cards will be accepted by the end of March in its 713-company owned restaurants in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

Waffle House always catered to the "poor old cash customer," said spokeswoman Charnae Knight.

The option to use plastic, "is something our customers wanted," Knight said. "They talked to us about it in our restaurants."

Since opening the first restaurant in Avondale Estates in 1955, the Waffle House company-owned restaurants have been cash only. Some restaurants experimented with ATMs, but Waffle House decided that accepting credit cards is the best solution.

"With many in our society not carrying cash, this gives them the convenience of eating with us and then using their credit cards," Walt Ehmer, Waffle House vice president, said in the news release.

Waffle House operates more than 1,500 restaurants in 25 states. About half of the restaurants are company-owned.