Huge Scandals That Will Always Haunt Cracker Barrel

Huge Scandals That Will Always Haunt Cracker Barrel


Most restaurant chains come with at least
a few scandals, but Cracker Barrel has had an almost shocking number of scandals, lawsuits,
and accusations leveled at them, especially considering they’re a relatively new chain
— in the grand scheme of things, at least. Here are some huge scandals that may haunt
Cracker Barrel for quite a while to come. In 2004, Cracker Barrel was embroiled in several
scandals, including a lawsuit brought by the NAACP and an investigation by the Justice
Department. The actions were instigated by claims that
black customers in several states were subjected to not only the restaurant’s segregation policies,
but other shockingly terrible types of treatment. The list of accusations was long, and included:
segregated seating, seating and serving black customers after white customers, subjecting
customers to racial slurs, and, shockingly, serving black customers food that had been
fished out of the garbage. Servers were also allegedly allowed to refuse
service to customers, based solely on their skin color. The Justice Department investigation came
first, and Cracker Barrel wasn’t fined for their findings. Instead, they agreed to put anti-discrimination
measures and training programs in place, along with hiring outside auditors and undercover
diners to monitor their progress. In spite of the 2004 investigations and settlements,
Cracker Barrel has had continued problems with accusations of racism as recently as
2018. Cracker Barrel was hiring in 1991, but thanks
to a newly implemented HR policy, they were only hiring people who weren’t gay. The policy didn’t just forbid hiring gay employees,
but they also fired at least nine current employees because of their sexual orientation. Think it can’t get worse? The New York Times interviewed one employee
that had been fired under the policy, Cheryl Summerville. She had been working at Cracker Barrel for
three years, and said: “They said they didn’t really want to fire
me, because the policy was really aimed at effeminate men and women who have masculine
traits who might be working as waiters or waitresses. But I said I couldn’t just let them fire other
people and keep me, because it would just be a matter of time before the policy caught
up with me, too.” Cracker Barrel’s response was bizarre: They
finally rescinded the policy, but didn’t really accept any fault. Instead they called it a, quote, “well-intentioned
over-reaction to the perceived values of our customers and their comfort levels with these
individuals.” It wasn’t until 2002 that Cracker Barrel added
sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy, after scoring a dismal “zero” on the
Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. “I award you no points and may God have
mercy on your soul.” In 2013, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson went
on record with some seriously controversial anti-gay comments that led to his suspension
from the show. What does that have to do with Cracker Barrel? The company weighed in on the side of everyone
who was offended by the remarks and Robertson’s anti-gay rhetoric. Briefly. According to Forbes, their first move was
to announce that while they were going to continue to carry some Duck Dynasty-related
merchandise, they were removing products that might offend guests. Essentially, they pulled the A&E-produced
Duck Dynasty products, but kept selling the more independently produced Duck Commander
products, including books like Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen Cookbook and the Duck
Commander Devotional book. Cracker Barrel was the first retailer to make
the move, but it took just about 24 hours for them to backpedal, hard. They issued an official statement that read,
in part, “Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done. You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. … You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened.” All Duck Dynasty products were returned to
shelves. There’s a bit of a long story behind the lawsuit
Cracker Barrel was served with in 2018, and the newspaper The Tennessean says it started
back in the 1970s. That’s when Earl “Peanutt” Montgomery was
busy co-writing songs with country music legend George Jones, and it’s also when Jones pitched
him an idea. The plan was to have Montgomery produce an
album that would be something of a gift. Proceeds from the album would essentially
be Montgomery’s retirement package. That was the plan, at least. The album was recorded, but when Jones started
to get shuffled from recording studio to recording studio, it was never released. Fast forward to 2017, when Jones’ widow, Nancy,
sold all his intellectual property to Concord. Concord then made a deal with Cracker Barrel
to release the album, and the move resulted in Montgomery filing a $5 million lawsuit. He claimed that Nancy Jones didn’t have the
right to sell the record in the first place, and they definitely didn’t have permission
to release it. A fatal shooting at a Cleveland Cracker Barrel
has resulted in a long investigation and lawsuits filed by family members of the people
there. In 2012, Kate Allen was at Cracker Barrel
with her husband, Kevin, and their two daughters. They were celebrating the birthday of one
of their girls, but she was also telling her husband she was leaving him in the wake of
numerous domestic violence charges, convictions, and reports filed with local police. After the conversation, Kevin Allen left the
restaurant, returned with a shotgun, then shot his wife and two daughters. Police arrived, and the shooter was shot and
killed at the restaurant. While his wife and one daughter passed at the
restaurant, the other daughter passed away about a month later. Not long after, Kate Allen’s family filed
a lawsuit, condemning Cracker Barrel and the manager for not offering to help when they
say she approached them for it. According to eyewitnesses, Kevin Allen had
taken his wife’s car keys before leaving to fetch his shotgun. She had allegedly approached the manager and
asked to be allowed to hide in the restaurant with her girls until someone came to help
them, but later the manager gave two different statements and told two different stories
that made it unclear just what their conversations had been. She hadn’t been offered the hiding place she’d
wanted, and in late 2016 a judge found enough reason to allow the lawsuit against Cracker
Barrel to proceed. Go back through Cracker Barrel’s recent history,
and you’ll find a whole slew of sexual harassment lawsuits. In 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission issued a press release on the chain’s agreement to pay out $2 million to resolve
a lawsuit brought by 51 former and current employees who were subjected to not only
harassment, but racial harassment that was very similar to the working conditions outlined
in the massive 2004 lawsuit. The following year, Nation’s Restaurant News
reported that they were spending $270,000 to settle another lawsuit brought by five
former female employees in New Mexico. And, in 2009, the EEOC reported they were
handing out another $255,000 to settle yet another harassment lawsuit that not
only claimed male employees created a hostile work environment, but that Cracker Barrel’s
corporate refused to take the claims seriously. That’s not the end of the story, either. In 2007, Cracker Barrel turned around and
sued several of their insurance companies when they refused to cover the first $2 million
payout for the 2006 verdict. According to Insurance Journal, the insurance
providers claimed that the lawsuit wasn’t something that was covered under the policy,
while Cracker Barrel claimed their carriers consistently denied their insurance policy
obligations by refusing to reimburse. On February 27, 2017, Bradley Reid Byrd kicked
off one of the biggest social media scandals of the year when he posted a rant on his personal
Facebook page, followed up by a direct question on Cracker Barrel’s Facebook page about a
week later. The topic? Why did you fire my wife? According to Eater, literally all of Cracker
Barrel’s social media accounts were deluged with angry comments from customers who were
taking up the cause of getting “hashtag-justice-for-brad’s-wife.” Even Instagram photos of delicious-looking
pancakes were flooded with comments about how Brad’s wife wasn’t going to be enjoying
them any time soon, and it kept going on and on. Some even started a Change.org petition on
the Byrds’ behalf. While Brad claimed his wife’s termination
came just days before she was due to receive a vacation payout, Cracker Barrel continued
to keep quiet over the whole thing. Cracker Barrel fired long-time manager Belinda
Jones in February 2016, after she had been working for them for 21 years. The reason they gave was that she had been
handing out discounts to friends and family, but Jones claimed that her liberal use of
discounts was allowed within company policy, and that corporate had even taken notes of
how her sales were doing, pre- and post-discount. The real reason for her termination, she claimed,
was rooted in a conversation she had with her district manager. Jones claimed the manager asked her not only
about her husband’s health but of the costs of his cancer treatments, and her responses
kicked off an investigation into her discount use. Other managers who gave discounts in a similar
way weren’t fired, her lawsuit claimed, and Jones’s camp says it was just an excuse to
fire her, get out from under the costly cancer treatments, and replace her with a younger
manager. The case is ongoing. Cracker Barrel has had a few lawsuits filed
against them for their handling of current and prospective employees with disabilities,
too. In 2013, the Dayton Daily News reported that
they were being sued by Johnny Wills, who was fired from his general manager job because
he had been diagnosed with a rare liver disease. Wills, who was named general manager of the
year in 2007, was diagnosed in 2008. The condition forced him to take more time
off than expected, he ended up on a work improvement plan for reasons Wills said were bogus, and
he was told to hand in a resignation letter in 2010. Later, a jury found that his resignation was
not forced, as he had claimed, and sided with Cracker Barrel. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
stepped in on another case in 2018, when the National Law Review says they took up the
cause of a deaf man who had been denied employment as a dishwasher because of his disability. The applicant showed up for a scheduled interview,
was told the manager who was supposed to do the interview wasn’t there, and other store
managers refused to conduct an interview at all because they weren’t comfortable trying
to communicate with him. But that wasn’t the only time Cracker Barrel
got in trouble for its failure to properly accommodate disabled people. It’s a business’s responsibility to be accessible
to all customers, and in 2014, Cracker Barrel was sued because they had failed to do that. Business Insider says it was Sarah Heinz of
the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team who brought the lawsuit against Cracker Barrel. It was based on a simple fact: when she tried
to use the handicapped parking spaces at the restaurant, she found they were so steep that
her wheelchair just rolled away before she could get into it. Heinzl’s suit was based in Pennsylvania, but
the problem was much more widespread than that. The case cited 107 restaurants that weren’t
up to code and didn’t adhere to the guidelines put in place by the Americans with Disabilities
Act. Cracker Barrel was given 30 months to fix
those problems, and slightly longer than that to fix any other problems found by surveys
at other locations. New locations would need to earn certificates
of compliance to show there were no problems at new restaurants, Heinzl was awarded $7,500,
and Cracker Barrel was ordered to pay $830,000 in legal fees. Food poisoning outbreaks are terrifying, and
one repeatedly affected plenty of customers in southwestern Michigan in 2017 and 2018. According to MLive, 11 cases of salmonella
were reported to the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, and it
was traced to Cracker Barrel. Workers and health officials tried to track
down the precise source of the strain, but here’s where things get extra terrifying:
they couldn’t find it. The restaurant closed first for a complete
kitchen remodel, then a few months later, they closed to upgrade the dish room. They got a clean bill of compliance, reopened
and closed again when the salmonella reappeared. Cracker Barrel notes that it’s not a supply
chain problem, and it’s a type of salmonella only found in southwest Michigan. The county’s health department called it a
significant salmonella contamination, and since they just couldn’t get rid of it, they
closed that location permanently. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
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100 Comments

  1. This is so true. I went to the restaurant in Tennessee and my dad and I noticed to put all the whites and blacks on opposite sides of the restaurant. It was creepy

  2. They brought one to Victorville California. I tried it and it was trash. They can go back to wherever the hell they came from.

  3. Only been there once. It was my boyfriend and I, and the server was a lovely Black woman. The only problem was I was afraid my boyfriend would fall in love with her… because I had already fell for her. She served us really well, and the food was pretty good as well.

  4. Who wants to open a business with all those lawsuits nowadays. Stop being such snowflakes and if you don't like their restaurant just don't go. 😂

  5. I'm going to call bullshit on this. I have never laughed so hard. Mom they don't like me cuz my skin is black! No honey they don't like you because your stupid. And you say stupid things. Babahahahhahahahaha

  6. Robertson didn't say anything anti-gay he said how he feels about homosexuality and he's entitled to his opinion stop being so sensitive

  7. Glad those pos duck dynasty fucks got told. Just because you believe a certain way, doesn't give you the right to impose your beliefs on others. The exact problem with the laws configured now. Based on a belief…that's it. Nothing more. Sad that so many people are brainwashed and can't think for themselves.

  8. The false accusations of racism were for money. If I was a manager I would personally sue every accuser and refuse any "training"

  9. In Kalamazoo we were never served
    We sat there while people came in and left and we had water only
    I was hurt because my son was with me and they tried to chase us at the car to say they would serve us. I don't remember the date but they will never get a dime from me again. They used to be my favorite place.

  10. My boyfriend and I went there and we're Asian, we never went back because of how terribly we were treated

  11. I sh!t you not, there's a restaraunt called crackers in garden city, ny. Take a wild guess if i ever set foot in there. Anyone familiar with the long island area knows what im talking about.

  12. I've ate there a few times years ago. It was actually good. Nothing really surprising me on this list. Perhaps their stance on homosexuality in their waitresses is the most off putting but understandable from a business stand point.

  13. I had a good experience in colombus ohio, and we where a bunch of hispanics, an asian and black person, we got good service, way better than Bob Evans

  14. For a restaurant chain that bases its image on old style "small town", "homestyle country" [ie: Christian] they seem to be a mix of stuff that's on point for that (homophobic, racist) and modern anti- family/corporate greediness. What a bipolar shitshow. Knowing all this don't think I could enjoy a meal at such a poorly run restaurant.

  15. Never even heard of this restaurant, and knowing this, am not that sad. But to be fair, I don't think I would have eaten here, even without these scandals. …pretty sure I'm not their target audience.

  16. Brad and his wife are watching this video on a loop right now.

    “We did it, (Brad’s Wife), we’ve left a legacy.”

  17. I always figured this restaraunt was racist and bigoted. I never ate there because now my thoughts have been confirmed. Besides places made strictly for a certain group can't cook that good.

  18. Cracker barrel is the best , screw thin skin libtards, go eat somewhere else. Cracker barrel won't lose out on this deal

  19. I’m black and I worked here. I would always get asked to do all the work outside in the sun, they would literally leave it until I got there. Also asked me to put out the cotton stems in some of their displays. Caught a couple of “guests” snickering and whispering jokes about that a couple times.

  20. I stopped going there…they wouldn’t refill coffee and a lot of times their coffee is so watered down…it doesn’t taste like coffee

  21. Awful place to work and eat.The kitchen absolutely smells of grease and was dirty.Even with an employee discount,I wouldn't eat there.

  22. What is it with the White Christian Trump-voter types and sexual harrassment? Do their toothless cousin-wives not give them enough at home?

  23. I like their food. I can cook most of it at home. Their compromising moments just got exposed. I feel every business has a dark side.

  24. If a video takes up to 10 minutes on the scandal of (1) !! Resturant we all minus well dnt eat there and who ever has eaten there stop . I never ate there and never will from this story!!!!!!! I heard the food is not the hype no flavor or burnt at times .

  25. I've never wanted to eat there because the theme gave me a racist vibe. Never had any solid facts to back myself up, just intuition… until now.

  26. Its real easy to point and say "Racist". That seems to be the new stupid in 2019. If i dont like what you say or do, that automatically makes them "Racist". And it makes the shit talker just that. A shit talker

  27. On a personal level,I find gays are disgusting and a lot of people think so,but they are afraid of saying so.

  28. Denny's was no better and the waffle house is another one. The name speaks for itself the Cracker Barrel.

  29. This video is just … silly… people are offended over everything .. they serve good food and every experience there has been very good .. there are always lines to get in so they must be pretty good. Get a life

  30. Many .. many.. many.. years ago I worked in the store and was fired for no reason!! everyone I worked with was even sad for me and thought it was unfair how I was fired! I also got food poisoning from eating there! I think it was the catfish! It was so long ago but I never did eat it again!! I still go there to eat and shop! I love going there with my family when they take me! Love shopping there! I just went about a week ago after church and did a small haul on my channel.

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