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The Cracker Barrel / slow, bad food, poor staff

1 United States Review updated:

As a child, I used to love this restaurant. It had goofy pictures on the wall, a toy section. And damned good orange soda. But the past few times i've been forced to return, have all been one giant ball of pain and suffering. These events have been the same in different states of which i've eaten at the cracker barrel.

In the time it takes to get your food, you could have just made the same damn thing at home, and saved yourself the 20$. Anywhere between 30-40minutes is the average wait time i've experienced. I am not going here in a huge group of people, demanding all 20 of us has our food out instantly. Oh no, it's just me, and my mother. Having a nice little lunch. But still, it's taken up to 40 minutes for two plates. We do not order anything special with our food. Just the run of the mill menu items.

For example: a chicken salad, ranch dressing. How long can that take? My mother even ordered the exact same thing. But we sat around for 30 minutes while we got absolutely no recognition. Remember, this has happened at more then one restaurant, in different states.

So after 30 minutes of sitting around being ignored, we finally get our food. The first thing my mother says is 'where's chicken?", buried under the lettuce where a few pieces of chicken. As if it was an after thought.

It was painfully obvious the salads had been sitting around for a while, some of the croutons had turned squishy from sitting on top of a tomato for to long. I was scared to even try the hard boiled egg, which was ice cold by this point. The chicken was luke warm, whatever little bit we received, one could tell considering the cheese beneath it was barely melted. And one can deduce that hot chicken would melt the cheese, and cold # chicken sitting around for 20 minutes, would not.

Every time I order a simple coke, it tastes like dish water.
Yes, fountain drinks will vary in taste depending on the restaurants syrup to water ratio, but this was not cols syrup, it was dish water.

On one occasion the creamer for my mothers coffee had curdled.

Honestly, I cannot stand to return to this place. As a child it was a place of wonderment and delicious orange cola, now it's a waste land of cold food and rancid milk products.

At one time, a table of 20 was served, and out the door before my mother and I even got our food. And yes, we where there before the larger party arrived, and had ordered at least 10 minutes before hand.

These events are taken from various locations including: michigan, louisiana, and texas. I travel a lot -_-

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  • 0 Votes

    "Every time I order a simple Coke, it tastes like dish water. "
    That is funny because their dish water taste like coke. I wonder if they are getting the two mixed up. :D

  • Bi
      20th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes


  • So
      27th of Mar, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I believe that it is possible for one store to be bad, but I mean come on now, not all are the same. The Cracker barrel in my home town is awsome, with the exception of some recial issues, but being a witress while in college I can tell you why they do not want to wait on black people, it is because they don't tip.

  • Pa
      16th of Apr, 2009
    -1 Votes

    not all the cracker barrels are the same i have worked for 2 of them and i am still with them i have never not waited on anyone except one person and that is because he is very mean to his wife who has had a stroke we have something in place now called absolutes and it does work it is order on the greet if u are ready and check back check down and prebus to glasses but it seems some people come in and want to sit for hours our shifts are not long normally so we want to have as many tables as possible so keep that in mind that we only make 2.38 a hour in indiana and we count on those tips if u only have 2 or 3 tables and one of them sit for hours u have lost out on a few tips at least compensate us for using it for that or go to the porch and sit in the rockers that is why they are there i have had some very rude people at this store i work at now but i have never been rude back i like to kill them with kindness and usually can get there mind set different by the time they leave i think some people look down on servers well this server has a degree in computer programming and i make more money there then i ever did anywhere eles it is hard work but can be very rewarding but also a pain sometimes lol if u ever have a problem let your server know they can and know how to correct the problem dont wait till u get mad or get to the register and want ur meal for free we can do what ever makes u happy its called people pleasing and it is a required program before u are allowed on the floor to serve our guests ps i am a server trainer so i do know this to be true

  • Mo
      3rd of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Tips are based on Service it is not an automatic entitlement. I recently went to Craker Barrel in Roseville MI. It was the pits the waitress did everything she could the obvious racist floor manager was rude to the hostess as well as the customers. The economy is very bad and if people can afford to still go out to eat Craker Barrel should treat everyone like royalty. Because without people coming to your establishment, you will close down. How long should it take to cook bacon, eggs, and pancakes.

  • Mr
      3rd of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    "The first thing my mother says is 'where's chicken?", buried under the lettuce where a few pieces of chicken.As if it was an after thought. "

    If it were an afterthought it wouldn't have been under the lettuce. It would've been on top of it.

  • Cl
      8th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    the hard boiled eggs are delivered refridgerated in 2.5 gallon buckets and are kept cold.

  • Ma
      17th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    My spouse was fired from the Cracker Barrel in Joplin Missouri this past Saturday, because she poured a cup of coffee for a guest! That's right! The general manager called her into the office and verbally harrassed her. After taking a customer's order, another of her customer's jestured for a refill of coffee. She poured the coffee, and then put the order into the computer. Well, it seems Cracker Barrel has a new way of treating the guests. They call these new standards, "Absolutes". In no uncertain terms, the management has made it clear that the servers are to use variouis tactics to rush the guests, and therefore increase guest counts. The servers are now required to attempt to extract the guests order at the same time they take the drink order. They even are required to leave the check one minute after the customer receives the food! This leads many to feel rushed from the outset. Once the order is on the servers pad, they are not allowed to pour a cup of coffee, refill an ice tea, drop off some additional requested condiments...Nothing. They must go imediately to the computer to put in the order. When you are waiting on multiple tables, this "Absolute" standard is not feasible, but it does cut down on the number of refills the guests receive, and increases the time it takes to receive anything extra for your meal. Like extra biscuits, jelly, etc. You see where this is going! Several months ago the GM brought my wife and another server into the office and in a very hostile and threatening tone, told them if they could'nt get on board with the new, "Absolutes", he would fire them, and that they would never work in Joplin, as a server again. The next day, Mr. Munson the GM, pulled both servers seperately back to the office, and stated that he didn't mean what he had said. Well, this Saturday it happened again! Feeling the stress of sagging sales, my wife again fell victim to Munson's wrath. After loudly and angrily berating her, he wouldn't even let her finish a staement, before demanding, "Do you want to give your two weeks, or just leave now?". Well she left alright, and I went down and publicly accused Munson of harrassment in front of a full dining room. He is currently denying that he counseled both employees jointly on the previous occasion. The fact is that the guest does not come first at Cracker Barrel. The cheapskates even removed the hand sanitizer from the server line, to cut costs! I have personally wittnessed unsafe food handling on many occasions. (I have been a GM of a restaurant previously). Even my wife pleas to the personnel department were met with uncaring comments. My wife asked, "Is our first priority to please the customer?". She was absolutely told that the first priority was to please her manager! I was listening on the other line! I couldn't believe it! Cracker Barrel is not the restaurant of yesteryear. When you look beneath the surface, there are lots of serious issues with the direction the company is taking. My wife had worked for the company for over six years, and was one of the most requested servers in the store, receiveing numerous accomadations for her outstanding service. What has changed? Not Tracy! She would got out of her way to please each and every guest! It is Cracker that has changed, and definitely for the worse.

  • Ma
      20th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Dear Jason Tillo, My wife certainly doesn't need me to fight her battles. As for policy, people are sick of handing over their hard earned money, and receiving less, and less! Additionally, employees are not servants! They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not harrased and abused. You sound like you work for Cracker Barrel? What's your beef? I'm just letting people know what the company is really like! The truth will set you free! Or, perhaps in your case, make you run and hide!

  • Th
      14th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    Alpharetta Ga (Winward)... Got seated. Waited 13 mins with no acknowledgement. 2 servers looked right at us and walked by. One of them started counting sugar packets at an empty table. The other took an order from 2 people that just sat down... Waited 4 more service in sight... Got up and left. Stopped at retail counter and asked for a manager. The poor guy paged the floor manager 6 times. Waited 7 minutes for the manager...never came. Poor guy behind the counter asked the retail manager to help me. I told her what had happened and that we were leaving, and i just wanted to inform them what happened and what section we were seated in. Her words verbatim " Hmmm, i apologize. Please come back and see us." I was a regular customer 3-5 times a week. I'LL NEVER EAT AT A CRACKER BARREL AGAIN.

  • Ti
      30th of Dec, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I am so sick of our absolutes - RE: ONE STOP SHOPS!!! YOU CANNOT SEEM TO GET IT THROUGH TO THE MANAGEMENT THAT WHEN PEOPLE DINE OUT THEY WANT TO RELAX AND NOT FEEL RUSHED!! WHAT IS NEXT FOR CB?? A DRIVE THRU?? Many guests have complained about feeling rushed since these absolutes started!! One of the main reasons people dine out (especially travelers and that is what CB business is based on) is to relax and enjoy - NOT FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO INHALE YOUR FOOD!! When i first sit down in a restaurant I am never ready to order - I just get a drink - especially if it a place where I have never dined before!! Can't someone start a group lawsuit for mental anquish on the job - a lawyer can make a killing with this one!!!

  • Jf
      7th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    I've worked as a server at Cracker Barrel in North Carolina for about 5 months, and this has to be the most back-asswards restaurant I've ever worked in my life. Our store is the most watched by the bigwigs in corporate because our business is so poor and we have so many complaints. I am led to believe that its simply because our managers have no idea what they're doing. And the absolutes? Look at it like communism; it works well in theory but when applied to the real world it turns the whole operation into a cluster###. Cracker Barrel organized their own funeral with their poor business practices. "Pleasing People" is their motto, and from a corporate business aspect its not working.

    On the other hand however, don't put this all off on your servers. If the general service was not to your liking, we always catch the brunt of you displeasure in any circumstance. The best way to maximize your dining experience in future occasions is to help your servers out and refrain from being a cheap ###. By this I mean, don't get a damn glass of water because you can't bear to spend the extra buck on a fountain drink. Or ordering off the kids menu if you're a fully fledged adult. It kills me because most people will look at that $6.00 tab with the kids grilled cheese and water, and tip accordingly. When I go out even if I'm just getting a cup of coffee, I might leave 2 or 3 bucks on a $1.50 tab because its not the total of the bill that matters, its the quality of service. Ease up on your ideals about that quality of service as well. Customers look to their servers for absolute perfection, which is not only impossible, but unnecessary. If you don't have a refill on your coffee right when you slam it down, there's no need to be in angst. We'll be back around in just a few minutes often with a good apology, or even a fresh pot because we realized you have been waiting. We're humans just like you, we aren't supernatural beings who can put in your order while refilling your soda and wiping your ### simultaneously. Put yourself in our position and ask yourself if you can really do what we do. As you ponder that, leave a decent tip and not whatever you can scrounge out of your pocket. We don't make enough even with the 2 some-odd per hour to be running back and forth constantly getting you jelly or creamers or ketchup and calling you sir and ma'am. We may be in a recession, but dining is still a luxury. If you're not prepared to spend some money then please don't go at all.

  • Ve
      27th of Mar, 2011
    +1 Votes

    i work for carcker barrel for al most seven months i didnt likeit cause the gm was nasty n mean an disrespectful she cuses an yell at u in front of the guess today i got fired cause a employee ran my food an came backn ask me did i have a hbr on my ticket i told him no i was bout to put in a order for it then he ran in told the gm an she said she was sick n tired of me lying so she told me to get out now when did i ever tell i did put a hbr on my ticket i was tryin to tell her n she just went off den she was mad cause i put my two weeks in so i figure she was goin to try to fired me any away but still she was very unprofossical in very rude all the guest fely she was doin it under professial same as the employee

  • Wd
      24th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    I used to eat at Cracker Barrel at least two the three times a year and their foods was good and I have tried them in different states. But for about the last three or four years the food taste like something that I could make and I can't even cook. Cracker Barrel used to have hot fresh cook meals that were worth the money but now they have like leftover cold food. All I can say is ...Cracker Barrel What happened? After giving them many tries time after time I have made the decision that my shadow will never darken there doorway again!
    I'm done with Cracker Barrel!

  • Ja
      7th of Jul, 2011
    0 Votes

    It really as simple as this: Stop going. You people crack me up, you go to these restaurants with the mindset that they will close without your money. The fact is, for every whiner, there are ten people that like the place.

    Cracker Barrel implemented their "Seat to Eat" concept as a way for traveller's (in case you haven't noticed, they tend to be by the interstates) to get in, have a meal and continue on with their travels in around 30 minutes. The "one stop shop" is designed to speed this up. the majority of guests at CB are regulars to the brand and already know what they want. The "immediate entry of the order into the pre-check" is designed to prevent servers from collecting 4 tables' orders and ringing them in at once. This insures two things...1. YOUR table is not waiting on their food as long . Imagine you order, then your server goes to three other tables and collects their orders as well. Then the fourth table ordered something that doesn't take as long as your's does and they get their food before you get your's. Guess what comes next...a complaint from you that you were here first and they got their food before you did. 2. It also prevents the servers from overwhelming the kitchen with four orders at once. In case you haven't noticed, you are not the only table in the store. There are probably 80 other tables that might be ordering at the same time. Can you handle making that much food at once? And I seriously doubt that you got how the food was intended to be served, no way, you had to have your steak well done or your salad a certain way.

    The "check back, check down" is designed to give travellers the choice of paying as quickly as they need to. I doubt anyone of you upstanding, model guests have ever complained about not getting your check fast enough. No way, no one in the history of dining has ever complained about that. The server, if they were doing their job the way they were trained to, would inform you when they drop the check, that they are placing this on your table for YOUR convenience and they will continue to take care of you. So before you complain about CB's policies, make sure the employees are doing what their jobs entail first.

    The pre-bus to glasses is designed to help the server when the guests leave. It is far easier to bus glasses than plates, silverware, trash and glasses. It helps them turn tables, increasing their tip potential.

    The bottom line is, no employee has ever been let go from their job for failure to follow guidelines and taken responsibility. It is always the companies fault, never their own.

    As for all the racism, sexism and what not, now that these words have been said next to the name Cracker Barrel, everyone is on the lookout for it, analyzing every small detail to see if it applies to these words. If a CB once refused to wait on a guest because he was wearing a purple shirt, I have to go buy one to see if it happens to me, I can get paid!!

    Grow up, take responsibility for your actions. If you got fired, I am quite sure you deserved to be. If you can't count money and have constant errors, you need to find a job that doesn't require math. CB is a good company, they make made from scratch food to order, and they treat their employees who follow their " Pleasing people" mission statement well.

  • Ts
      8th of Jul, 2011
    0 Votes

    This place is so backwards. I work for CB for almost 1 year and 98% of the experience has been ridiculous. Here is an example: I live 15-20 minutes away depending on traffic. I also have small children. We usually get our schedule on Thursday but I was off. So today, Friday I thought since I'm not working for a couple of days and I dont have to go anywhere today, (plus the weather is terrible) I would call and just get my schedule if they werent busy. I called and was told that another employee could not acquiesce my simple request and was told that I could only get my schedule form the manager. So I'm transferred to the manager and he is annoyed that I called to get my schedule and said that he has over 100 employees and if every employee he had would call and ask for their schedule that would take forever!" He also said it would be easier if I stopped by the store like the others do and get my own schedule. This now would entail getting the kids ready, putting them in a car, driving 30-40 minutes depending on the traffic (both ways) in the pouring rain with lightening just because he couldnt look down at his desk and just tell me my schedule? I was shocked that I was rebuffed and with annoyance, I was told to call back later.

  • Je
      1st of Nov, 2011
    0 Votes

    I have worked at a Colorado Cracker Barrel store for only X months. I'm sick of the place. I had to take the damn job, but thankfully I'll be leaving there soon. The company is complete ###. They expect you to run on their schedule only, and to be complete robots when there. They always hire more dish washers than what there needs to be, and only give each one 10-16 hours a week and except them to live off it and be happy. When one washer leaves, they quickly hire a new one instead of giving the others more hours. Then, when you have to get a second job, they have the damn nerve to berate you when you tell them three weeks later that you can't work those days, because you had to get a second job. I listened over the phone as one managers told the other the situation, and they both acted like I couldn't hear them as they talked out a battle plan to make me choose one job over the other, even though I filled out a new avalibility sheet and had it placed in the system OVER THREE WEEKS AGO.

    The management is always up the ### of everyone as well. God forbid you sit down for 5 minutes when working another one of their classic 10 hour morning shifts. Heaven help us because it takes more than one minute to sort a whole tray of silverware that can take up to seven minutes to sort, then have to sit there as the GM comes over, yells at you, then takes 12 minutes to sort the damn tray because he thinks he's better than you. Seriously, he got all huffy and tried telling me how to do my damn job then started doing it worse, then he acted like he was King ### when it took him even longer, and he was going all Hulk at super speed which only made him winded and ###ed looking.

    All the managers make bonuses, we know this, and they will go to extreme, nasty lengths to get them. The whole training program Cracker Barrel has set up is to get you to only care about the stockholders, because they invested in our company, and we need to feel sorry for them 24/7 for even having enough money to invest in our company to begin with. Honestly, the damn 40 minutes video you had to watch when in training was about this old white couple, who had more money than Jesus H. Christ, sit around and say they'll know we'll protect them and make sure they see a great return on their investment. I, like most Cracker Barrel employees, had to take the damn job because we needed the money. We don't care about some investor, or manager, who has more money than us screaming their heads off because we can't get a damn tray of biscuits out in a heart beat.

    And a few other things:

    Our store has had the health department visit over ten times in the last month, and they keep finding new things to write us up about. Management makes it very clear to us every day that we need to work harder, take less breaks and work on skeleton crews to make up for the thousands in damages that could of been help with only hundreds at most, and proper maintenance.

    Dishwashers are ### to the higher ups, and are treated as such.

    Servers are made to cry daily because Management has to be all nasty for no reason just to get a simple point across that could of been talked out in private.

    Our dish machine is over 6 years old, and busted. Honestly, I've brought the issue up, but got a thinly veiled speech about the bottom line.

    The only thing freshly made is the corn bread and biscuits, everything else sits in a pan inside a large pool of hot water, and all day if it doesn't sell. The meat loaf is cooked in the morning, and everything else is pretty much just chilled until we mix it all together or boil it in the back.

    And yes, this is a rant, and before one of Cracker Barrel's spy agents gets on here (I mean honestly, who comes to a site like this and doesn't ###? You can't tell me under half of the people here who write good reviews aren't hired by the companies they write about.), let it be known that your corporation has had lawsuits filled against it for multiple reasons, and most of my rant covers that area. A simple google search can tell anyone here that what I'm saying is fact. Instead of looking for me and threatening me, like you are known to do, spend the little amount of time it takes and FIX THE DAMN PROBLEMS FOR GOOD, INSTEAD OF GOING THE NAZI ROUTE AND SCREAMING YOUR HEADS OFF WITH THREATS AND BEING A BUNCH OF CHEAP ###! People are people, not numbers, not those piles of meat you have to staff your "restraunts" with and pay to be there for reasons you just can't seem to grasp, we're people GOD DAMNIT! And we will be treated as such. I will continue to report these problems to the health officials, I will continue to leave your corporate office voice mails cause you never seem to pick up, I will not be detoured by thinly veiled threats, or law suits. I am an American worker, and if you can't treat me like such, then forget you. Your turn over rate is terrible, and you don't know why? It's because you expect people to act like dogs. You have no place in this timeline. It's not the 1930's anymore, you can't give us scraps and kick us and expect a thank you. FIX IT!

    -Jerry Nate.

  • Wa
      9th of Nov, 2011
    0 Votes

    The Cracker Barrel is pathetic. Guests find roaches in their meals on a daily basis. The roaches come out when the company does their once a year spray/ pest control. "Gold Cards" come through the door on a regular because the guests here know not to complain or make a fuss at the tables. They wait to get to the cashier and call for a manager who belly ups to them and offers free meals to "apologize" for the bad service. Truthfully, they just don't want Home Office coming down on them. Meanwhile, servers get left ### for tips if anything at all.

    I split a table of 12 with a second server and we both made sure we took good care of the guests, ( 2 parents and 10 kids, mostly under the age of ten ). Absolutes! Seat to Eat! Check back and Check down! Party of 8, bring a date! All this work and we both got stiffed. Not a dime! Yet they had the money to pay their nearly $120 check AND have money to shop the crappy cheap MADE IN CHINA stocked "gift shop" afterwards.

    Oh yeah, and to make things worse, you have to claim a certian amount of tips per shift or you get a tiny " love letter " after you clock out saying you didn't make store average for tips claimed. You have to sign it, a manager signs it too. Enough of these letters and you get told you're not doing your job right.

    The Cracker Barrel is the worst place I have ever worked. It's more concerned about lawsuits and racial descrimination more than their employees. The managers get bonuses for Goal Hours yet the employees ( cooks, servers, hostesses, cashiers, and retail ) are told that they "...get to keep their jobs" Believe me, these managers push Goal Hours like drug dealers push product.

    Employee Appreciation is a joke. Hot dogs and pizza are how you "thank" the people who make running this restaruant even possible?? When the weather is inclimate, do you think Cracker Barrel Home Office contacts any of their employees and tells them not to come in because they are closing? NO, YOU GET TO WAIT UNTIL LATE AFTERNOON when Home Office decides they aren't making any money before you show up anyway and get told to go home.

    The health care insurance plan is a joke. You are told even part timers get a chance to enroll. Only if you make a average of 28 hours a week and keep this average per month for several months. So, this only includes cooks and managers since I can't think of any servers, retail, hostesses or cashiers that average even 20 hours on average per week per month. Oh yeah, once you are enrolled, you have to keep the hour averages up or they cut you from the program.

    The economy is rough, I'm looking for a new job and I won't be giving my two weeks notice of leave either. With the way Cracker Barrel hires new people each week, I am positive they will just split my 15 to 20 hours a week between the 8 people who share my position.

    Even with 50% off employee meal, I don't eat here. I don't drink or eat of the silverware or dishes because they are nasty. No one scrubs anything here it just gets over loaded into racks and pushed through a hot water rinse. Servers have to roll silverware by the pound. So when you have had a ### shift, no real reason to make sure your 14lbs tray of silverware is clean because you just want to leave!

    Store meetings are gossip fests. I've stopped going because I don't want to sit in a hotel confrence room and hear about server X spitting in garbage cans in the kitchen, Server L picking his butt when working as an expiditer or how Server G is totally sleeping with Manager T. I work with a lot of two faced ghetto self proclaimed "divas" who think they are management when in reality, they are just pathetic losers who have stayed with the company for so long they are entitled whores.

  • Je
      12th of Jan, 2012
    0 Votes

    I was a manager for Cracker Barrel. I worked for them going on seven years. I have never called out and did what was asked of my to the best of my ability. Yesterday, I was fired on my birthday.

  • Ra
      12th of Jan, 2012
    0 Votes

    Aww... :( Happy Birthday JEL 1. *Hugs*

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