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A native of Tennessee, Rogers had already been a diner chain regional manager for Toddle House in Memphis when he bought a house from Forkner in Avondale Estates, Georgia, in 1949. Rogers, inspired by the emergence of fast food chains like McDonalds, proposed that he and Forkner go into business together for a quick-service, sit-down restaurant. Forkner suggested a Toddle House, but Rogers felt the chain wasn't proper for the market. After Forkner secured the property, the pair developed the concept of the Waffle House together; Forkner proposed naming it after the most expensive item on the menu to promote it, while Rogers suggested keeping a 24-hour schedule. The first Waffle House opened in Avondale in 1955. Over the next several years, the pair expanded the chain, beginning to offer franchises after 1960.
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