So my business is called The Hot Wafel (Wafel is spelled like this in Europe).
A competitor is using the words "Hot Waffles" to describe what he offers to the public. Is their potential conflict with this or do I have cause to worry?
Do I need to trademark the term 'Hot Waffle" so it ensues its not used by competitors or is this a term that cannot actually be trademarked? Kind of like KFC trademarking the term 'fried chicken". Which would not be accepted.
If that is the most valuable asset of your company/ branding strategy as a startup/SME company, you're in trouble. I wouldn't bother unless it's your actual company name.
Define your brand, formulate your USP's, and try to describe that in 1 sentence. Make a list of tags for your communications messages, like Disney did (Google "disney brand language"). They make sure to use the word or derivative of "magic", "fantasy", etc. in each message they send out. Much more effective than just trademarking everything (with exception of your company name). In making the list with associated terms, try to describe your product/service and its USPs as detailed as possible. Use as many relevant words as possible to describe your product without actually mentioning it.
So for "hot waffles" you could say stuff like "sweet, soft baked goods" or "delicious mouth watering and rich pastries". Experiment as much as you can, be creative in using language and use dictionaries in search for synonyms.
Brainstorm: did you mother make waffles when you had a great scorecard? Is that what you want your customers to think? Then "Freshly baked success", or "The taste of success" will do. Did your entire family bake and eat waffles during family day? Then "Share the taste" or "For that warm feeling" (piction a kind and loving family on the background of your photo/commercial) will do.