Why the Waffle House is Ugly

Steven Mouzon reflects on the huge investment a roadside reference like a Waffle House must make in infrastructure versus the relatively low expense for an inner-city restaurant.

Mouzon writes, "The first thing they are forced to do is to erect the 200 foot tall sign that probably costs $200,000, because travelers at highway speeds will only be on the bridge for a few seconds, and if Waffle House doesn't entice them to exit by then, they've lost their business. Next, because their entire customer base arrives by motor vehicle, they must pave every square yard of their site not occupied by their building for parking to accommodate their customers' cars (the semis must park on the street.) So is there any shadow of doubt why poor Waffle House has such ugly buildings?"

Full Story: the Localized Operations



Why Most Chain Stores Are Ugly

Communities need to have strong design guidelines prohibiting high, ugly signing and building facades. There are plenty of examples of cities and towns across the country doing exactly that.

We should make retailers customize their stores to make them more consistent with our communities; regulating scale, color, height, lighting and facade materials.

Poverty or practicality is no excuse for ugliness

Poverty or practicality is no excuse for ugliness. There are many poor countries that manage to make buildings of adequate visual quality simply by salvaging whatever materials they have in greatest abundance.

There is a way to make roadside restaurants that look good. America managed to do it for a time in the 1950's. The problem is confusion about the laws of geometry, not about the building programs.

Unfortunately the design codes and reviews are just as confused about geometry. They aren't going to provide any solution to the problem. They might in fact just compound it.

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