Read more about Cracker Barrel on the About Company page, it’s got a history on a restaurant chain (and eclectic retail store) with “a mission to please people [and commitment to] strong values and true hospitality. “Which is very much in keeping with the image of this folksy, friendly American roadside apparatus. What is inconsistent with the ethics and stated mission of Cracker Barrel are the scandals that have hit the business time and time again.
Over its nearly 55-year history, with Cracker Barrel’s first location opening in 1969, people working for the company have made a myriad of mistakes and, in some cases, apparent crimes. At other times, there have been seemingly institutional problems with the channel related to racism and intolerance. Granted, the company always releases statements officially condemning such occurrences, but they’ve happened enough times that it seems something is wrong at the Old Country Store.
Here are eight Cracker Barrel scandals the company wants you to forget.
In one of several race-related incidents at Cracker Barrel restaurants, a Connecticut Cracker Barrel was accused of hanging a decoration in his dining room that to all intents and purposes resembled a noose. By Business Internthe decoration was actually an antique soldering iron with a coiled cord that looked like rope, but the resemblance to a noose was so obvious that the company admitted fault and removed it from the restaurant.
A Tennessee Cracker Barrel served a diner a ‘drink’ that was actually a glass filled with the Eco-San industrial cleaning chemical, per CNN. The poisonous and corrosive substance caused a chemical burn in the man’s mouth and throat. Cracker Barrel was then burned with a $9.4 million lawsuit.
In the second of three racist incidents we cover, a Cracker Barrel employee at an Arizona location shared on TikTok that other staff members had created a code word to refer to black customers, for Newsweek. When African-American diners entered the restaurant, some of the workers called them “Canadians.” Cracker Barrel responded through a spokesperson and said, “Obviously, racism has no place at Cracker Barrel and any actions such as those depicted in the video would be against our policies, our beliefs and who we are as a company.”
A Cracker Barrel in Kalamazoo, Michigan just couldn’t ride out a salmonella outbreak, according to Fox 17 Online. In June 2018, health department officials first inspected the restaurant after reports of foodborne illnesses, and the location was temporarily closed for intensive cleaning. It reopened, but later the same year another person was hit with salmonella poisoning at the same location. Unable to eliminate the bacteria, the restaurant closed permanently.
In 2013, by USA today, Phil Robertson, the gruff, bearded patriarch of the Duck Dynasty show, has said some really ugly things about gay people. Cracker Barrel, which sold a number of Duck Commander items in its stores—Duck Commander being a Robertson family-run company—removed many of these items from its shelves, which was the right thing to do. When many customers complained, the chain returned all the merchandise and apologized. It was a cowardly reversal that some said signaled siding with the nation’s anti-LGBTQ faction.
Previous mentions of racism at Cracker Barrel were limited to single locations. Unfortunately, this is not the case with bigotry and the wider chain. Early 2014, by FoxNews, the channel has agreed to settle several lawsuits filed by the NAACP. The lawsuits included allegations that black customers would be separated from Caucasians — often relegated to smoking sections — and people of color experiencing longer wait times and lower quality service.
In the spring of 2021, Cracker Barrel faced a major lawsuit alleging that it was not paying many of its workers properly. The complaint alleged that the chain violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by applying a tip credit to servers’ hourly wages, even though those servers had to spend more than a fifth of their working hours performing tasks for which they could not. not earn tips. clients .
First it was what looked like a noose, then it was what looked like the other worst symbol of America’s racist past, a whip. By The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a social media frenzy was sparked a few years ago when a myth surfaced online claiming that the logo contained a disguised image of a whip and that the barrel itself was a traditional way for car owners. slaves from storing such abusive material. These claims were unfounded, but they still dealt a blow to the chain.
Steven John is a freelance writer for Eat this, not that! based just outside New York. Learn more about Steve
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