16 Pros and Cons of Working for Cracker Barrel

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Cracker Barrel is a southern-themed restaurant and gift shop, or country store.

It has southern food and various gift items.

A Cracker Barrel could be a good first job, and it is a company that you could grow up with.

There are a lot of advancement opportunities.

The company also has distribution centers which are different kinds of jobs but with the same company.

They also have a hotel, which also has jobs available.

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Pros of Working at Cracker Barrel

Training programs

The company offers training programs and there are lots of opportunities here to advance.

There are management training programs to help you get into management, and what you learn there could easily be transferred to other places.

For every job, they have a solid training program in place, so you won’t be wandering around wondering what to do there.

The company encourages personal and professional growth by offering these management and leadership classes to all employees.

Advancement

Have you ever wondered why employees have stars on their shirts at restaurants?

They are there to show achievements at work.

Each star is earned as employees develop.

Each area has levels, or stars, that employees can earn, which raises their pay and their position.

You can advance from an entry-level employee to a shift leader, and then into management and beyond.

They offer paid training, and it it is more than 50 miles away, they will pay for your hotel room too.

This is for management training.

The training for the job itself is done at the restaurant.

Education

For college students, the company will reimburse their tuition if they achieve a certain grade level.

The company sets aside a large sum of money each year to award scholarships to employees seeking degrees of higher learning.

You can get up to $1,000 in tuition reimbursement by getting good grades.

The company hires a lot of students, both at the high school and college levels, and this is a good incentive for them to work there.

Good benefits package

Cracker Barrel makes an effort to take care of its employees.

Part-time employees are eligible for immediate medical insurance at a low cost.

You can advance to full-time status, and when you do, you get more insurance perks with the company paying a larger portion.

Full-time workers can get vision, dental, and drug insurance.

There is a stock purchase plan for employees, as well as a matching 401k you may contribute to.

The company also offers discounts on various types of merchandise as another benefit.

Extra hours available

It is hard to know how many people to schedule for a shift, and sometimes you don’t have enough people.

This happens a lot, and there are extra hours available for those that want them.

People call in sick or schedule days off, and they have to have people to cover those shifts.

This is another chance to get extra hours, and extra money.

Being willing to work more also puts you in the good graces of management.

Getting to meet people

Working with the public is a good thing for a lot of people.

If you don’t like that in general, it is not a plus, but for many it is.

You get to meet people every day that are passing through, and they can be interesting.

People coming to Cracker Barrell are usually relaxed and don’t get upset too easily.

If you like working with the public, this could be a really good place to work.

A friendly place to work

It can vary by the individual restaurant a lot, but in general, workers say they get along well with other workers at Cracker Barrel.

There is a good team atmosphere in most places, and the company encourages this type of environment.

A lot of young people work at Cracker Barrel, and being the same age may help with being able to relate to each other better.

Managers and shift leaders started out as regular workers, and that may also help create a good atmosphere.

Cornbread and biscuits

The cornbread and biscuits, covered with butter, are the stuff of legend.

They are examples of Southern cooking at its finest.

Even if you have to pay 50 percent of the cost, it’s still a great deal to experience these Southern dietary treasures.

If you work the night shift until closing, there will likely be some left and you can get those for free.

Getting a bargain on these is definitely a plus, or a benefit, of working at Cracker Barrel.

Cons of Working for Cracker Barrel

Not many breaks

The company seems generous in many ways, but not when it comes to breaks.

You get a 30-minute break on the clock if you work eight hours.

Other breaks are at the discretion of the manager on duty at the time.

If they are busy, you may not get a break until things slow down.

While on the clock, the needs of the store at the time come first.

You may be asked to work as many as four or five hours without a break.

Discounts on food

Food is half-price while you are working.

It is a discount at least, and you may also get it just before or just after your shift.

We put this on the negative side because most restaurants offer at least some free food to employees.

There are also discounts available on other items in the general store for workers.

Some free food is expected at most restaurants, and that generally is a perk you can count on.

Cracker Barrel is one of the few that do not offer free food.

Lack of inclusivity

Cracker Barrel has been in some lawsuits and has gotten a reputation for not being inclusive.

At one time, they refused to hire gay people, and would fire people for not displaying “normal heterosexual values.”

They were also accused of racism by seating white people before black people.

They settled both cases out of court, but that reputation persists. 

Stores vary a lot, and these may or may not be things that happen at all stores.

Living on tips

Servers are paid at a much lower rate than other workers.

Much of their income is from tips.

Customers are fairly generous at this restaurant, but relying on tips is risky.

Usually, servers do fine, but you could hit a dry spell of tight-wad customers and not make much money.

Working for tips can be positive, but has a deep dark side when the tips are not there.

Pay is not great

The company does offer a lot of good benefits that have value, but they do not pay as well as similar restaurants.

Line cooks, dishwashers, servers, hostesses, and so forth generally make less per hour than in other restaurants.

The pay is competitive, in the same ballpark, but still not quite as good as in other places.

Bad managers

You can run into a bad manager anywhere, but they have a lot of control at Cracker Barrell.

Things like raises and promotions are based on performance reviews.

If a manager does not like you, for whatever reason, that can keep you from advancing in the company.

A good manager can make work fun, but a bad one can make it miserable.

Some reviewers complained about bad managers at this restaurant.

Busy times

The holiday season, in particular, is busy at Cracker Barrel.

The good side is you can get all the hours you want.

The bad side is that you will be busy all the time, and there is some pressure to keep things moving.

It can get hectic and there can be some pressure to perform.

If you like controlled chaos, this can be fun.

If you do not like that, then it will not be any fun.

A lot depends on how much you like being busy and having to get a lot done.

Biscuits and cornbread

This is also listed on the pros of working at cracker barrel.

You can generally get some free biscuits or cornbread, which are some of the more tasty items offered at Cracker Barrel.

Like a lot of Southern cooking, there is a lot of fat content and a lot of fried food too.

You could end up eating food that is not as healthy as some restaurants because of that.

You could gain some weight.

16 Pros and Cons of Working for Cracker Barrel– Summary Table

Pros of working at Cracker BarrelCons of working for Cracker Barrel
Training programsNot many breaks
AdvancementDiscounts on food
EducationLack of inclusivity
Good benefits packageLiving on tips
Extra hours availablePay is not great
Getting to meet peopleBad managers
A friendly place to workBusy times
Cornbread and biscuitsBiscuits and cornbread

Should you work at Cracker Barrel?

The company offers some good training and some great benefits, even for part-time workers.

It would be a good place to get your first job and get some experience. 

It has had some bad press on social issues like being inclusive, but that probably varies a lot by individual store. 

It might be worth giving them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the bad press they have received.

There has not been any controversy in the last two or three years, so it may be a thing of the past.

The pay is average, but there is immediate benefits like insurance even for part-time workers. 

If you like a fast-paced working situation, this could be a really good first job for anyone.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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