Cracker Barrel was based in Tennessee in 1969 and carved a distinct segment for itself by producing hearty, Southern fare. What was as soon as a distinct segment is now a nationwide empire; Statista stories that there are at the moment 661 Cracker Barrel institutions in the US, spanning 45 states. All of those institutions supply a lot of their elements from producers based mostly within the U.S. What’s extra, the model additionally makes a lot of its merchandise together with gravy, mashed potatoes, and biscuits in-house every single day.
Whereas there are a number of features of Cracker Barrel that decision for celebration, there are lots of issues the enterprise would slightly its clients did not know. Sadly, the vast majority of these are associated to discriminatory actions which have focused each clients and workers. Though the corporate has made appearances of attempting to proper a few of these wrongs, many individuals really feel that Cracker Barrel is just not the homely, welcoming enterprise it presents itself as.
Cracker Barrel Fired LGBTQ+ Employees Throughout The Nineteen Nineties
In 1991, Cracker Barrel launched a coverage that prevented members of the LGBTQ+ group from being employed. Not solely did this coverage forestall new LGBTQ+ employees from working on the firm, however it additionally resulted in a number of lively workers dropping their jobs because of their sexuality.
The coverage was rescinded a couple of weeks after being launched. In a press release recorded by The New York Times, Cracker Barrel stated: “Our current place on the employment of homosexuals in a restricted variety of shops might have been a well-intentioned overreaction to the perceived values of our clients and their consolation ranges with these people.”
Since this time, Cracker Barrel has carried out numerous coaching schemes centered on variety and inclusion. The corporate additionally claims to have a zero-tolerance coverage on LGBTQ discrimination and harassment. This coverage was examined when Grayson Fritts, an excessive anti-LGBTQ+ Tennessee pastor, tried to carry a gathering at considered one of its eating places. Cracker Barrel refused to host him.
In 2022, Human Rights Marketing campaign, a company that campaigns for LGBTQ+ rights, awarded Cracker Barrel a rating of 80 out of 100 in its annual Company Equality Index. Though Cracker Barrel celebrates this rating, it is very important be aware that 842 of the 1,271 reviewed companies obtained an ideal rating of 100. The rating signifies that the enterprise is bettering, but additionally that LGBTQ+ workers are nonetheless not handled within the method that they need to be.
Cracker Barrel Has Mistreated Black Prospects And Staff
It isn’t simply the LGBTQ+ group that Cracker Barrel has a historical past of discriminating towards, however ethnic minorities too. This got here to gentle in 2004 when the Division of Justice settled a case towards Cracker Barrel for discriminating towards Black clients.
Entrenched, racist acts similar to permitting white servers to refuse service to Black clients and segregating clients by race had been revealed after the DOJ investigated 50 Cracker Barrel eating places. Because of the settlement, Cracker Barrel was pressured to undertake new insurance policies and procedures to forestall discrimination from going down.
At an analogous time, roughly 12 Cracker Barrel workers claimed that Black workers had been segregated from white workers and had been typically given non-customer-facing roles. The corporate paid $8.7 million to settle all allegations.
Sadly, the steps Cracker Barrel took to make sure racist practices had been discontinued didn’t show enough. In 2018, Randy Freeman, a Black bus firm proprietor and operator, was kicked out of a Cracker Barrel in entrance of his passengers for merely ordering meals. Cracker Barrel managers falsely claimed he was being aggressive. Moreover, a former Cracker Barrel worker revealed in a TikTok video that Cracker Barrel workers seek advice from Black clients by the code phrase ‘Canadians.’
Cracker Barrel claims its variety coaching reaches workers all through its firm. It has additionally created a Range Council which goals to develop numerous leaders and administration. Nonetheless, the plethora of allegations suggests these actions are inadequate.
It Has Been Criticized For Inappropriate Décor
A key a part of Cracker Barrel’s identification is the décor that covers the partitions and ceilings of its eating places. This eclectic décor has been part of all Cracker Barrel eating places since 1969 and consists primarily of vintage memorabilia; every location has distinctive items which might be designed to replicate the realm the restaurant is situated.
In 2020, a buyer known as Tamra Hawkins visited a Cracker Barrel in East Windsor, Connecticut, and took a video of the ceiling. On this video, what appears like a noose could be seen hanging from the ceiling. After public outcry, the offending merchandise was faraway from the shop.
That very same 12 months noticed Cracker Barrel conduct a company-wide evaluate of décor in institutions throughout the nation. The results of this examination was a multi-million greenback redecorating plan that encompassed each Cracker Barrel institution in the US. This was undertaken in an effort to create Cracker Barrel eating places into areas that had been welcoming to all. Cracker Barrel is especially centered on introducing memorabilia that displays Black American historical past.
Cracker Barrel Fired An Worker For Giving A Muffin To A Individual In Want
Cracker Barrel as soon as once more made headlines after it fired an worker known as Joe Koblenzer. Koblenzer was let go in 2014 after managers found he had given a person condiments and a corn muffin freed from cost. Koblenzer highlighted that the person was in want and fairly probably homeless. Nonetheless, this did little to allay Cracker Barrel’s administration and Koblenzer was let go quickly after.
In a press release recorded by Fox News Cracker Barrel stated: “He [Koblenzer] violated the Firm’s insurance policies relating to consuming meals with out paying or giving freely free meals, on 5 separate events. Mr. Koblenzer obtained a number of counselings and written warnings reminding him concerning the firm’s insurance policies and the implications related to violating them.”
Though it was rooted in firm coverage, Cracker Barrel’s determination to fireside Koblenzer was not a well-liked one. Over 5,500 individuals signed a petition demanding that Koblenzer be rehired. Articles regarding Koblenzer’s firing had been printed by newspapers around the globe together with these in the UK and Australia.
Cracker Barrel Did A U-Flip Throughout The Duck Dynasty Scandal
“Duck Dynasty” was a actuality TV program that aired for 11 seasons between 2012 and 2017. The present was a few Louisiana-based looking enterprise run by the Robertson household. The present gained an enormous viewership in the US. Consequently, many collaboration and sponsorship alternatives got here the Robertsons’ manner. One such collaboration was with Cracker Barrel. The corporate agreed to inventory Duck Dynasty merchandise within the shops that adjoin all Cracker Barrel eating places.
Throughout an interview with GQ in 2013, the household’s patriarch Phil Robertson made a number of anti-gay feedback. In response, Cracker Barrel introduced that it might pull a few of the Duck Dynasty merchandise from its shops. Protests ensued and never 48 hours after it had made its unique announcement, Cracker Barrel backtracked. In a put up shared on Facebook Cracker Barrel stated: “After we made the choice to take away and consider sure Duck Dynasty objects, we offended a lot of our loyal clients […] we apologize for offending you.”
Some Of The Dishes Are Extremely Unhealthy
Cracker Barrel is thought for serving hearty Southern food. Whereas satiating, this fashion of meals is just not recognized for being the healthiest and Cracker Barrel’s menu displays this that includes a number of dishes which might be loaded with fats and salt. One among these is the Sunday Homestyle Hen BLT. Registered dietician Kelly Springer described how unhealthy this dish is to Eat This, Not That!: “It offers over half of the common really useful energy at 1,180, nearly your entire really useful fats at 60 grams, 13 grams of saturated fats, and 29 grams of sugar. To not point out the two,560 mg of sodium, which is increased than the really useful each day worth of two,300.”
The unhealthiest dish on Cracker Barrel’s total menu is the Southern Fried Chicken. By itself, this dish incorporates 1,640 energy, 100 grams of fats, and 4,730 milligrams of sodium. What’s extra, a few of Cracker Barrel’s sides are additionally dangerously unhealthy; a portion of the model’s Nation Fried Pickles incorporates 3,440 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of fats, and 880 energy.
That being stated, it’s attainable to eat comparatively healthily at Cracker Barrel. Dishes like grilled pork chops and steaks, steamed greens, and home salads all give diners the power to dine with out exceeding their each day really useful consumption of salt, fats, or energy.
A Buyer Was Served A Glass Of Chemical Cleaner
In April 2014, William Cronnon had completed consuming his meal at Cracker Barrel when a server refilled his glass with what she believed to be water. Sadly, the waitress had picked up one of many unmarked water servers that was getting used to soak and clear the water machine. Consequently, Cronnon ingested a combination of water and Eco-San, a sanitizing liquid. Cronnon was taken to the emergency room and developed gastrointestinal points shortly after. These included bloating, cramping, and reflux ache.
Cronnon took Cracker Barrel to court docket and was awarded $4.3 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. In a press release despatched to CNN, Cracker Barrel stated: “Whereas now we have nice respect for the authorized course of, we’re clearly dissatisfied by and strongly disagree with the jury’s award on this case, which concerned an unlucky and remoted incident.”
One Cracker Barrel Restaurant Induced A number of Salmonella Outbreaks
Salmonella Mbandaka is a micro organism that may trigger foodborne diseases in people. Signs of Salmonella poisoning embrace diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. In excessive instances, some individuals require hospitalization.
The primary case of Salmonella Mbandaka poisoning in Kalamazoo, Michigan was in 2008, however officers didn’t change into conscious of the Salmonella outbreak till 2012. It took till 2018 for the Michigan Division of Well being and Human Companies to start investigating a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Texas Township because the attainable supply of the an infection. Preliminary samples taken from the restaurant confirmed Salmonella Mbandaka current within the cooking, meals preparation, dishwashing, and storage areas. A number of workers examined optimistic for the micro organism though they didn’t display signs.
Cracker Barrel voluntarily closed the shop throughout Might and June for a kitchen rework. In early November the dish room was additionally upgraded. Nonetheless, the Salmonella outbreak persevered and the corporate voluntarily closed the shop on the finish of November.
In a press release shared with MLive Cracker Barrel stated: “Regardless of the extraordinary efforts made to eradicate the presence of this pressure within the retailer surroundings, we could not get snug that we may forestall a reoccurrence and due to this fact now we have made the very tough determination to shut the Kalamazoo location efficient instantly.” It’s believed the restaurant was chargeable for 35 instances of Salmonella Mbandaka an infection altogether. These happened between 2008 and 2019.
Cracker Barrel Has Been Accused Of Underpaying Employees
In 2021, a collective motion lawsuit was filed towards Cracker Barrel by a lot of employees who alleged they’d been illegally underpaid. The lawsuit acknowledged that Cracker Barrel violated the Truthful Labor Requirements Act by illegally making use of a tip credit score to servers’ wages.
A tip credit score permits employers to credit score a portion of a server’s ideas in direction of their wage, decreasing the quantity the corporate has to spend. In Cracker Barrel’s case, this motion was unlawful as servers had been pressured to spend greater than 20% of their time engaged on non-tipped jobs like cleansing the soda machines. What’s extra, workers weren’t accurately reimbursed for extra work that happened exterior of their common hours.
To make issues even worse, Cracker Barrel workers allege that they had been pressured to carry out a better proportion of non-tipped work through the Coronavirus pandemic. This led to the staff successfully working extra for much less cash throughout this tough interval. Though the case was filed in 2021, it’s nonetheless ongoing.
The Firm Has Been Closely Criticized By Its Shareholders
Almost 50% of all accessible Cracker Barrel shares are owned by 5 funding companies. With a lot cash invested within the firm, it’s unsurprising that the chairs of those companies have robust opinions on how the enterprise needs to be run. What’s shocking is how strongly and regularly considered one of these chairs, Sardar Biglari, has criticized Cracker Barrel’s administration.
Biglari is the chairman of Bilgari Capital LLC which at the moment holds 9.03% of Cracker Barrel’s inventory. Through the years, Bilgari has used his place as a serious investor to criticize the corporate. In 2013, Biglari demanded the corporate be bought. In an open assertion summarizing his views, Biglari claimed that Cracker Barrel’s administration was dismal and resulted within the firm suboptimizing its worth. He used the Duck Dynasty scandal for instance of the administration’s poor practices.
One other assault got here in 2019 when Biglari known as for the corporate to desert its quick informal eating idea Holler & Sprint. He claimed it was destined to fail, however the firm initially ignored Biglari’s recommendation. The sub-chain shuttered in 2020 with all websites being changed by Maple Street Biscuit Company eating places, a model that Cracker Barrel acquired in 2019.
Extra lately, Biglari criticized Cracker Barrel administration for lagging behind its opponents. He stated the corporate had been constantly dropping clients and had did not return to pre-Covid ranges. On this assertion, he known as for CEO Sandra Cochran to get replaced. Cochran retired in 2023.
Inedible Gadgets Have Been Discovered In The Meals On A number of Events
In 2007, Cracker Barrel was pressured to drag burgers from 313 shops after a girl known as Irene Grann lower her mouth whereas consuming one at a Cracker Barrel in Myrtle Seashore. Upon inspection, the restaurant supervisor discovered items of razor blade embedded within the hamburger patty. This triggered all burgers produced by Cargill Meat Options — Cracker Barrel’s foremost provider — to be faraway from the corporate’s eating places.
When interviewed, Mark Klein, a spokesman for Cargill’s meat companies stated to NBC News: “We’re working to collect the data wanted to return to a stable conclusion on this matter. Nobody needs to be leaping to conclusions till the investigation is concluded.” Grann was taken to hospital however didn’t require stitches.
Extra lately, rapper Kodak Black shared a picture of his meal at Cracker Barrel on social media. A steel staple is clearly seen in his scrambled eggs. Bradford Cohen, Kodak Black’s long-term lawyer, shared the picture on his Instagram and acknowledged that he anticipated a name from Cracker Barrel to settle the matter.
There Have Been A number of Cases Of Sexual Harassment At Cracker Barrel
A number of cases of sexual harassment have taken place at Cracker Barrel institutions. A number of of those had been perpetrated by male members of employees, together with managers, and focused feminine workers.
In 2006, the corporate was ordered to pay $2 million in damages to 51 workers who had been the recipients of sexual and racial harassment in three Cracker Barrel eating places in Illinois. The harassment included sexual feedback and unsolicited touching. Administration took little to no motion when workers reported the abuse.
An identical case was introduced towards Cracker Barrel in 2009, this time at considered one of its Tennessee places. Right here, feminine workers had been repeatedly focused with a slew of sexual jokes from male workers and administration. What’s extra, a few of the ladies who reported this conduct had been punished. The ladies obtained a $255,000 payout.
In its Labor and Human Rights Coverage, Cracker Barrel states that it’s devoted to sustaining workplaces which might be freed from sexual harassment. Nonetheless, more moderen sexual harassment instances, together with one filed by a server who was solely 18 years outdated, recommend that Cracker Barrel’s coaching and coverage are removed from enough.
Learn the original article on Daily Meal.