I promised to give an update when we went back to check out Cracker Barrel. Last week one morning hubby and I had to run errands. We had gotten kind of a late start so we decided we would go out to lunch instead of breakfast and we’d try out Cracker Barrel one more time to give them a chance to redeem themselves. It was pretty pitiful that 4 out of the last 5 times we have been to one it has been a not so good experience.
The one good experience we did have was the morning after my brother Monte’s funeral. My parents and siblings were all headed back to their respective homes. I was going to stay in Fredericksburg for a couple of weeks to help out Monte’s widow Ana. The morning after the funeral we met at the Cracker Barrel in Fredericksburg (in the Central Park Shopping center) to say goodbye until we came back together for his Celebration of Life in July.
My mom loves to eat out, especially breakfast and most notably at Cracker Barrel. She loves their little jellies and jams. I know it’s kind of a strange reason to pick a restaurant but she loves it and it makes her happy and it was fairly convenient from where we all were and where we were all going back to. I was headed back to Monte’s house, hubby and #3 were headed back to Atlanta, SuziCate, Dirtman and their son were headed back to the coast, My brother and his wife were dropping my older sister and my parents at their respective homes before heading back to Louisiana. There were 11 of us eating and I didn’t hear a single complaint.
So why can ONE Cracker Barrel get it all right with such a large party and other ones can’t get it right with only 2 to 4 people present. The last time we ate at the one in Nashville the hashbrown casserole was cold as it was each subsequent time when eating either breakfast, lunch or dinner. 4 different locations over 5 visits over 3 states and only ONCE was the food absolutely satisfactory.
This last time we arrived just a couple minutes before noon. They weren’t busy yet with the lunch rush and the breakfast rush was well over. I ordered fried chicken, hash brown casserole (it used to always be one of my favorites) and corn with biscuits. The server even repeated back to me “You want fried chicken?” And I said yes.
When our food came she brought chicken fingers and the hashbrown casserole was cold. I don’t know if they changed the recipe for the hashbrown casserole or how they prepare it but 4 out of 5 times that I ordered it, it was cold or at best, lukewarm. When we finally got the servers attention, I told her I had ordered fried chicken. She said “Oh, we just have chicken fried chicken and chicken fingers so I just assumed you wanted chicken fingers.” Well, did you ASK? No you asked if I wanted fried chicken which any self respecting Southerner knows means a piece of chicken floured and fried, not chicken tenders. If she hadn’t under stood completely she should reiterated to me at that time that they did NOT have “fried chicken” only chicken fried chicken (which is not the same thing) and chicken tenders. In their defense, the corn was hot and tasty but that was the only thing. Again, the biscuits were not even warm enough to melt soft butter!
She never asked if we wanted to see a manager or anything and we chalked it up to another bad Cracker Barrel experience and have decided to just avoid Cracker Barrel like a bad virus.
To validate that we are not alone in our bad Cracker Barrel experiences…hubby happened to be talking to a fellow manager at his work and this manager reiterated the following experience:
He took his wife and new baby to the Cracker Barrel (I think he said in Stockbridge) to eat. He said it was a little after 11 a.m. He said he ordered breakfast and his wife ordered a salad with chicken tenders on it. A little while later the server brought out his breakfast and left, he thought going back to retrieve his wife’s salad. She didn’t return and his breakfast got cold waiting for his wife’s salad to come out. When he was finally able to flag her down she told him “Oh, we aren’t serving lunch yet!” Well… don’t you think you could have told them that when they ordered?
By this time it was almost 11:30 so he sent his breakfast back to be recooked and brought out with his wife’s salad. Again, a few minutes later, the server brought out his breakfast and told him they would be right back with his wife’s food. Again, his food got cold and they never brought his wife’s salad. He told hubby he did something he’s never done before…. They got up and walked out with eating or paying almost an hour after they had gotten there. And NO ONE tried to stop them or asked them anything. NO ONE… The server didn’t say a word and no manager came by or anything.
I am sorely disappointed in Cracker Barrel. I don’t know if they had a change in their infrastructure or upper management or policies or what. All I know is whatever they did…. It wasn’t good.
And when we “paid” with our gift card (which the staff should recognize as something given to people who have had a previous problem) the cashier didn’t even ask how our meal was or if everything was okay. She just looked at us (after asking the other cashier how to ring it up) and said “Ok… you’re good to go. Have a nice day!”
Really? That’s all you got? I’m afraid we won’t be going back to Cracker Barrel anytime soon. In fact, earlier this week hubby and I were going out to eat breakfast at IHOP (which by the way is always wonderful) and when we were leaving our house I was driving and inadvertently said “To Cracker Barrel, right?” And without skipping a beat hubby said “Are you CRAZY?” Then I realized the faux pas and said … “Oh, yeah… I meant IHOP”. That’s more like it!