The first Huddle House restaurant opened in Decatur, the seat of DeKalb County, in 1964. Huddle House was founded by John Sparks and named by his wife, who became intrigued by the team huddle while watching a football game on television. The second Huddle House restaurant opened in Avondale Estates, home of the restaurant’s major competitor, Waffle House, which was founded in 1955. Known for serving breakfast twenty-four hours a day, Huddle House has grown to include nearly 400 restaurants in fourteen states, with 145 locations in Georgia as of 2005. Of the company’s 370 outlets, 93 percent are franchises. Most of the 26 company-owned restaurants are located in Georgia.
In the early 2000s Huddle House revamped its image, building new restaurants modeled on diners from the 1950s. The company also teamed with convenience stores for a co-branding arrangement and updated its logo, employee uniforms, and menu, adding such items as chicken wings, butterfly shrimp, and children’s offerings to its breakfast and sandwich selections. The company also developed a line of “Big House” platters.
In 2004 Huddle House, whose home office is located in Scottdale, in DeKalb County, won the Hot! Again award from Nation’s Restaurant News, the restaurant industry’s primary publication in the United States. The magazine recognized Huddle House for being “the best example of a chain operator who has surged back to gain a competitive edge once again, including outstanding growth in sales and profits.” In that year Huddle House projected sales of $190 million in 2004. That same year breakfast accounted for 40 percent of unit sales, and the company reported serving 1.3 million hamburgers, 26.3 million slices of bacon, 11.3 million pieces of shrimp, 9.4 million sausage patties, 125 million cups of coffee, 12.8 million orders of french fries, and 29.5 million orders of hash browns.