So I'm an employee of Cracker Barrel and I just wanted to share some information to all of the patrons of this restaurant. I work as a cashier by the way. Every month, we have a "target" item. It's usually some candy or mints that we have right next to the register that we ask you to buy.
Well let me tell you a little about these items. We are REQUIRED to sell a certain amount every day. Let's say 3 an hour for a 6 hour shift. Well that makes 18 a day. If you don't sell 18 that day you have to make up for it the next day. And if you don't make up your numbers by the end of the week, your next week's hours get cut. So one week I can sell 100, but if I didn't meet my projected goals, my hours get cut.
Now onto the fun facts. THE EMPLOYEES DO NOT GET ANYTHING FOR THIS. The only thing that the managers tell us we get is hours. Well we get hours to sell more stuff for them hoping that we can meet our goals. What do the managers get? Well let me inform you.... They get small bonuses, like 100 dollars or if you place in the top 3 in your region, they get trips to Disney or a weekend at the beach or stuff like that. These are real incentives for the managers. Well the employees get nothing for doing this.
I brought this fact up in a meeting where my regional manager attended. She came because she lives so close to our store. They started the meeting by saying that we need to sell our "target" items. We really need to push them. Then, my regional manager said that we placed number 2 in our region for a previous target item. So being the smart mouth outspoken person I am, I politely asked what do we get for this? She said you get to keep your job. I have been conversing with a lot of my co-workers about this and no one is happy. We all hate it. It's high pressure and a lot of the guests complain about it.
Here is another fun fact.... Cracker Barrel stopped this "target" item campaign for one year and lost 10 million dollars. So to gain that 10 million back they are screwing their employees. We are training 6 new cashiers because it's that high of a turnover. 20 new servers and 3 new retail personnel. We just hired 4 cashiers and 10 servers. That's 30 new servers and 10 cashiers. That's the turnover rate at Cracker Barrel. Might be a good place for paying customers but for the employees, this place sucks!!!!!!!!
One more thing for all you people reading this. Apparently, someone in the chain said that no stores should have a 0 dollar hour. Meaning that something should be sold at all times during the day. Well we open at 6 am EVERY day. No one wants to buy chocolate or candy at 6 am. I know I wouldn't. So I got two 0 dollar hours in a row the other day. This was from 6am-7am and 7am-8am. My manager came up to me and asked why I didn't have anything sold. I told her that there was no one in the restaurant OR in the store to sell to. Her reply to me... THAT'S NO EXCUSE.
I then told her that I do not make enough money to subsidize the company because they don't want a 0 dollar hour. I refuse to buy something so the company can profit!!!! BTW... if you have an extra dollar, PLEASE buy the target item. It keeps us in a job and able to pay our bills.
PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE -- I worked at Cracker Barrel for 5 years. Recently, I moved and transferred to a new location. I was a Par 4 server (the highest you can get). Everything everyone has said here is true in regards to how they treat their employees. At first, I thought the managers were great. But, I should have remembered... they are ALL nice to you when you first start. After a month or so, the reality unfolds. Servers are run like dogs and talked to even worse. What we are expected to do... most people would never do. They are so concerned about numbers and labor, that they will cut the floor so drastically, that a server ends up with a TEN table station.
How can you expect to get good or even "decent" service when your server has TEN other tables to take care of? On top of all that, we are expected to run... not just our tables' food... but everyone else's food too. We are responsible for answering the phone to take "to go" orders and putting those orders together, as well. At the same time, we are trying to keep the service alley stocked. Oh and in these mid afternoon hours... they send the salad/dessert person home. So, the servers have to make salads, soups and desserts too! All while the managers sit in the office.
Every once in a while, one manager will come out of the office and tell us that we need to "step it up" and "run more food". How can you have 4 servers take care of the whole restaurant and keep up with all of this? It's IMPOSSIBLE! That's why service sucks most of the time. They don't care that we are there to make tips and provide good service. That is not their concern. If you really believe CB is about caring and family.... you are SORELY wrong. That is what they want you to think. But, behind the scenes.... it is OPPOSITE.
I have never been written up before. I was fired because I had to go out of town on a last minute emergency situation. I called HOURS before my scheduled shift and was told not to bother coming back and "good luck". HOWEVER... the manager left me on the schedule. Quite confusing. But, I had a suspicion... and I was correct. He wanted to make it seem like I did a "no call, no show". And I was right. I called Home Office and left a message and someone called me back a week later. I explained what happened and was told they would "look into it and get back to me". Never heard from them again.
Let me be clear... I was not looking to get my job back. I just wanted them to know what was going on in this store. Being fired was the best thing that ever happened to me. I felt like I was dying inside working there. I have a great new job that I love. Cracker Barrel is where servers go to die. Period. That's why their turn over is one of the highest in the industry. Sure, you have a few that have been there for countless years... but, most of those people have been there so long, and they are older people... and they don't want to go off and try to find a new job and start over new. Understandable. Most of them are so beaten down and it's sad.
I didn't realize how much working at CB was affecting me mentally until I left. I'm sleeping better, I'm happy again.... and I'm not looking back.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -- I recently became a former employee of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, & I just thought I'd share a few things for soon to be employees, current employees and even some customers if they care to read this. I worked at Cracker Barrel for four and a half months and at first I liked it. I thought it was a friendly and simple, just a part time job while I'm in school full time becoming a teacher. When I got hired I was assured by the general manager that they are more than willing to work with school schedules because most of their employees are in college just like me, etc.
Well come to find out, school is coming and I gave him my new Availability Form and the general manager pulled me aside and said unless I become more available for him mostly working later, then my hours would be extremely cut more than they already are even though I'm only part time unless I trained to do another position such as hosting.
I'm an adult and I'm willing to compromise even know he straight up lied to me and it's not working with my school schedule. I agree to cross train for hostess so I can get some hours. However, a lot of favoritism has and still is going on at that location that I worked at. Old employees get away with everything - don't follow the rules that they pressed upon new employees to follow, they constantly break the rules all the time, crappy customer service get away with everything. Never get reprimanded for anything or written up when they should have been fired.
There is a lot of shady business is happening in the kitchen. A waiter who was ** off by a table of customers put Visine drops in their drinks. Some of the cooks pick their nose or cough and do not wear gloves and handle the food. The managers are some of the biggest ** I have ever worked for. They try to write people up for crap that other employees who been there longer do all the time and give write ups for something they didn't even do only for the simple fact that they weren't aware or didn't hear you over the walkie talkie.
They want us to announced over the walkie talkie when we need to go to the restroom like we're in kindergarten even though there's no line and there's another person at the register, they still want you to page them. So, I always page them every single time. Me and one other girl are the only ones that have done it every single time and one of the managers had the nerve to try to issue me a write up saying I never paged him even the other cashier acknowledged that I did. I don't have all the time in the world to wait for him to wait for a response to my page. Sometimes he didn't even wear his radio or had turned all the way down which is not my responsibility.
So I told them to shove that write up his ** and it belonged to the other cashier since she leaves the register all the time unannounced to screw around in the back. They try to discredit honest responsible adults who were working there such as myself, but let little ** with no responsibilities or children or bills to pay get away with murder & give them a set schedule. And they let people who have warrants for their arrest work there just like that cashier at that store.
It's downright crooked, hypocritical and a little bit of racist. I had to put an old fart manager in check for always being rude and sarcastic even when you ask him for help & he never messed with me again because I was right. I didn't get paid enough for that BS. Plus, the retail manager try to pressure you into selling the retail department products so he can get his bonus. We were never told during our interview or orientation that we had to sell anything or have a quota. A lot of shady ** at this restaurant. I will never dine there again and I will always put them on blast on Facebook.
A few weeks ago I stopped for lunch the local Cracker Barrel. I eat there about twice a month, and have had no problems at all until that day. As usual, it was very busy, I went to the hostess stand and noticed that there were at least 15 parties ahead of me. But as asked how long the wait would be, I was informed that it would be about 10 minutes. I had my doubts about that given the lengthy waiting list, but agreed to wait anyway. Turns out the hostess was correct, they rattled through with the list with surprising speed, and about 9 minutes later my name was called, actually it was and it wasn't.
Apparently there were two people there with the same name, myself, and another person, a funny coincidence, however they said they could seat me right then anyway. I was seated at a small two person table, not a problem as it was just myself eating, and they were very busy. The waitress comes up to me and takes my drink order, and leaves. About that time a party of 6 is seated at the table next to mine, the party consists of a middle aged gentleman probably about 40-50 years old, a younger gentleman who looked to be in his late 20's-early 30's, an elderly lady, an older lady (around 60-70 years old), an infant, and little girl, who was probably around 5 or 6.
This is when the trouble began. The waitress brings my drink, takes my order and leaves again. Normally this Cracker Barrel has pretty quick service. It's rare that I have to wait more than 7-10 minutes for my food. But as I mentioned, they were slammed today so I was fully expecting to wait a bit longer. As I was waiting for my food, the middle aged gentleman at the table next to mine starts loudly talking about how was in the skybox seats at Redskins game to anyone within shouting distance, and then starts going into great detail about his experiences at FedEx field last week.
I feel something hit my head, nothing painful, but something did hit me. I look on the ground and there's a straw wrapper there. I look over at the table where the loud Redskins fan was sitting and the younger gentleman there is throwing a giggle fit, he has a straw in his hand. I ignore it. By this time it's been 15 minutes since I ordered my food. The waitress stops by again, and says that they are running behind in the kitchen; understandable. Another 5 minutes pass and I'm hit with spitball, again I glance over at the table next to mine, this time both the middle age man and the younger man are smiling.
At this point, I'm starting to lose patience. But I figure my food will be here at any time, and making scene in a crowded restaurant would just make things worse for everyone. And there may have been a possibility that the younger man had a mental disability. The place is so busy, they even have the managers sweeping the floor. So again I decided to let it go. 25 minutes have now passed since I ordered. The waitress stopped by again to let me know that she's not sure why food isn't ready yet. And a few minutes later she came back and said that the kitchen had thought they had already sent my order out, and they are making it right now.
After about 35 minutes my food arrives, it's obviously a bit undercooked, and not exactly piping hot. I eat it anyway, it tasted okay, but not as good as usual. After I finish, I wait any additional 10-15 minutes for the waitress to bring me the check. As I get up, front my seat I notice about 3 more spitballs on the floor, apparent misses. I pay my check and leave.
Obviously my experience today wasn't the best. However I'm not going to write off Cracker Barrel or make a knee-jerk reaction like swearing not to go there ever again or anything. Because, of the 30 or so times I've been to this location, this is the first the experience wasn't great. And it's not really Cracker Barrel's fault, that there were two jackasses at the table next to mine. It's not like the hostess or waiters knew they were going to behave like that. I can also understand the slower than usual service, however the miscue in the kitchen, and the lackluster food were mistakes on their part.
Had the place been less busy, I would've had some words with the two gentleman sitting next to me. But today, it would've been just another headache for the employees to deal with and probably would've resulted in even slower service for everyone else in the restaurant as at least a manager would've had to come address the situation. In this situation, I felt that it was going to be better for everyone if I just let it go.
I started working at Cracker Barrel around August of last year (now I am a par II) at which point I did not know about the company's turnover rates or anything else for that matter about the good-ol'-country-store. When I first started training, it was all about "pleasing people" but when I got to the usual work day experience, it all came down to the dollar and how much you could generate for the company. As a restaurant, I shouldn't have been surprised for my displeasure but I regret ever getting the interview call from my manager.
Cracker Barrel is a really horrible place to work at. Employees get no incentive and not to mention no appreciation either. I had had a few problems with an MIT (manager in training) who later became an associate manager. He was a very disrespectful man but of course, not every Cracker Barrel has the same issues.
After a few months of looking at how desperate I was with the whole job market I chose to keep the job and just hang in there but things got from worse to really messed up when as a joke he said to me that he should fire me for not doing as he says (which btw, was to have my cash drawer bills facing in one direction). And that was two hours after I was supposed to go home. I later, I admit I shouldn't have, called him a jerk for which I got written up for. Cracker Barrel company policies enable the managers to treat their employees like slaves or worse.
Previously when I had asked if I could go home at the time I was scheduled to go home I received a lecture at how that was only a "suggested" time and how the manager could keep me for as long as he/she wanted and that even after an 8 hour shift, but wait! They didn't want you to go over your 40 hours either. I knew no other manager would agree or even listen to me on how the associate manager was treating me (and a bunch others) so I got a suggestion from another co-worker to call their "home office." Again I mention, that would not have worked because the managers don't get these policies out of the blue but from true corporate laws.
I have finally now decided on giving my two weeks notice and quite with dignity and mail the associate manager an apology card saying "I'm sorry I called you a jerk. You're not a jerk, you're an **." Yes, I know those of you thinking of how immature that is but I've had many jobs, and this truly deserves a five star rating for the worst job ever.
My goal is to let every new hire know of what their getting into with their target item sales and high hour goals. Other reviewers have done a great job describing how sick the ideas really are of us having to sell 40 chewing gums (or whatever the current target item of choice) and pushing, pushing, pushing when the managers get obese on free meals and fat bonuses.
BRIGHTON, MICHIGAN -- I wish to state that I want to remain anonymous. I have worked at the Brighton Cracker Barrel for almost a few years now mainly in the back of the house position. It is a very busy store but it has its good and bad. They say that they give anybody a fair chance for advancement in the company but that IS NOT TRUE! They choose whom they like based on their favorites. And I feel that I have been over looked for advancement primarily based on my age. WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW!!
If I was 18 again or in my early 20's I would rapidly get cross trained in every department. If you work in the dish room area that is regarded as the lowest priority spot in the whole restaurant. Even though they are the backbone of the entire store. The severs are VERY RUDE and demanding. I have especially noticed that on very busy holidays the dish room area is under stocked to where every other part of the store they have people right where they supposed to be.
But when the big boss come through they will schedule or call in people to fill the spots that aren't usually covered in an average shift just to put on a show for the big boss!! They schedule at least 2 closers per shift and EXPECT YOU TO BE OUT ON TIME. Because they want to get their bonuses on how much labor they don't spend. They have at least a 3rd person scheduled until about 8pm. But that still doesn't help if you are stuck with a person who is under trained or doesn't want the dish room shift.
They don't give people a fair chance for advancement by hiring straight from the outside. They need to look at gee who hasn't done this yet? I think they would be good in backup or grill line? We have had a new store general manager now for a few months now. And right off the bat he has to make all these changes not even considering or listening to ideas from anyone else.
It is actually stated in the Cracker Barrel rules that you have to "EMBRACE CHANGES" not even realizing that these changes will affect the way we work and get out on time. And above all that, once a schedule has been posted every Thursday they can go in and adjust your hours without giving you any notice. One time, I knew that I had Friday night off and had already made plans to where I was completely unavailable. This manager declared that I was on the schedule the Friday night shift. They adjusted it thinking we should be aware of it on the printed out schedule? I KNEW FOR A FACT THAT I WAS BEING SETUP!
If you need a good hourly job DO NOT APPLY AT CRACKER BARREL! I am mainly holding on to this crap of a job for the hours and I have not and will not mention my identity just because of the fact that I knew what the facts of Cracker Barrel are. They are not an equal opportunity employer. Please copy and post this review anywhere you like. I am telling you straight from inside the doors of Cracker Barrel. DO NOT APPLY! LET THEM SEE THEIR OWN FATE!!
LOVELAND, COLORADO -- I was there for my mother's 75th birthday, which should have been a fun occasion. Instead, it turned into a fiasco! A family of 7 came in (I don't have any problems with most families when children are behaving), 3 children, 4 adults. From the time they sat down the children were up and running, screaming, crying and the adults seemed to think that was just fine. I could no longer carry on a conversation without shouting! My mother and I tried to talk with them about keeping things down and the family turned and said if we didn't like it we could go to another restaurant.
I tried to get the manager involved, but they were nowhere to be found. We didn't enjoy our lunch, we didn't enjoy the day, and frankly the restaurant is not interested in its patron's comforts beyond paying for the meal. I'm not normally a complainer, but I'm getting to the point that I can't stand other people's children. When they are sitting like normal human beings they are great, but a restaurant is not the place to let your children go wild. I didn't sign up for babysitting nor do I believe, did the staff. Stay away from Cracker Barrel!! Unless you like obnoxious noise and disturbances.
FOREST PARK, OHIO -- I only worked at Cracker Barrel about a month before leaving this abusive relationship. I was not properly trained with the side work and made to stay at least an hour and a half after every shift. If I made an error then I would get "corrected" in front of guests. I was constantly scrutinized for my uniforms and mistakes, while my team work and praise from the customers for my service would go unmentioned (aside from **).
Upon my hire I made it clear I needed such a date off for my long term boyfriend's boot camp graduation. A week before I was due to leave I put in for a couple extra days since his orders to be shipped out had been delayed another day. I ended up having to call off when I found out we were going to be leaving sooner than expected. As a result the female manager called me and gave me a healthy dose of her wrath. Which included, but not limited to, personal insults, raised voice, and intrusive demand to know my plans/personal schedule. Then I was informed "that wasn't a good enough reason to miss work."
The following day when the schedule was posted they didn't even grant me the time off to see my sailor's graduation into the military that protects this great country. (So much for a patriotic restaurant.) I received another phone call from another manager when I was on leave asking why I wasn't there. Apparently they don't check the request time off books. In a nutshell I refused to be treated in such a lowly manner and will proceed to cut my losses and leave with my self respect intact. Please note, this is not my only complaints with my experience, but the call from the female manager made it clear just how bad that work environment is. I hope this helps.
YUMA, ARIZONA -- It was Mother's Day, Sunday, so we (5 adults & 3 small children) arrived early, 8:00 AM, to avoid the rush from the after Church crowds and because it was Mother's Day. The place was 1/4 full at best. They told us it would be about 10 minutes, while they put together two tables. After 15 minutes and watching parties of 2 to 4 being seated ahead, I complained as to what was going on when it was also apparent that there was no attempt to put together any additional tables. Three hostesses, "seat greeters" two women and one male Hispanics, looking dumbfounded, explained that the two tables were still not available.
After another 5 min. and a party of 5 adults and two more parties of 4 adults were seated, I complained more. The receptionists, all still looking disinterestedly stupid, one then suggested that they could split us up, but the tables would be across the room from one another. I said, "what is wrong with you people, we came together and there are only five adults!" The manager came over, and after I explained how many people went ahead of us (at least 30), he said there was no room and the tables to accommodate us were still full of people.
I further explained that there was plenty of room before 30 people went ahead of us to fill up the place, but his answer was "we were trying to put you next to the window", then he suddenly left. None of what we were being told made any sense. My parents (86 years old) were so mad at the situation that they were ready to have stokes. It became apparent we were now being given the business, and after another two more parties of 4 and 5 were seated, we left.
On the way out, we heard them announce a party for six. I believe we were the victims of racial stupidity and dis-function of a managed establishment. I will never patronize another Cracker Barrel as long as I live!
MCALLEN, TEXAS -- We are a church choir group of 15 who has been going to Cracker Barrel every other Saturday for the past 4 years. By the time we get to the restaurant we are hungry. For the past 4 years, whoever was the manager, would come to greet us, and would make sure we would get our grilled biscuits as we decided what each one was going to order.
On February 11, 2012, we asked the server, as she was taking drink order, if she could put in the order of grilled biscuits. She said she would when she would take in the order of drinks we were having. Afterwards, she came to pick up the meal orders and again I asked if she had put in the order for the biscuits because we were very hungry and she responded that she would do it after she would take in the meal orders. I again asked her that we wanted the biscuits first before the meal, and she responded that she would do it after she would place the meal orders. When we refused to give our meal orders, she got the manager for the evening.
We explained to the manager that we had been coming for at least four years and we had always gotten the biscuits right away. The manager said he was aware that we were loyal customer but that they had a new rule that biscuit order would be placed after the meal orders had been done. I told the manager we would not order until the biscuit order had been placed.
We did get the biscuits but not enough for the group. The manager made a statement with the short order of biscuits that it was going to be his way. I want to know why we have to wait till the orders are taken. Every time we go we give them business of about $150 to $200. It's not like we're going to eat the biscuits and run off. We would like an apology from the manager, and to be treated respectfully like we had been by all the other managers. I would like a respond from the president of the company as to what is going to be done about this. We like the food from Cracker Barrel and then doing some shopping at the store.