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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cracker Barrel Restaurant Review

One of the best things about the weekends is being able to go out for breakfast. When I was younger, it was a treat just to go out, but I didn't truly appreciate it until I became a wife and mother. Contrary to our usual meals, when we go out I get to sit down while someone else does the serving, I don't do the dishes afterwards, and best of all, I get to eat my food while it is still hot. My food this morning at the Cracker Barrel though, was anything but hot.

The meal started out nicely enough. Although we'd had to wait 25 minutes for a table, we didn't mind since it was a busy Saturday in a tourist-friendly hotel area. Our waitress was quick to take our drink orders after we'd reached the table and she was friendly to my two year old who was trying to talk to her about a turtle. She brought our drinks back quickly and we told her we needed just a bit more time before placing our meal order. That's when things started to go wrong.

She came back a couple of minutes later to tell us that she was going to have another waitress take over because her child was sick and she had to leave. She apologized, and we told her that we understood completely. A few minutes later, the new waitress came. It became painfully obvious before I had even completed ordering for my son that the replacement waitress was very distracted. I had to repeat myself several times before the order had been put in for the table, and she answered a couple of my questions with "yes" responses when the correct response would have been something like "They come with links." or "$2.99". I noticed as she was taking the order that she was looking around the restaurant, which made me wonder if she was new and looking for assistance. Whatever the cause, we didn't feel very attended to.

Shortly after we'd placed our order, another family sat down at the table beside ours and placed their order as well. I busied myself with giving my toddler "stern" looks and reminding him to settle down, hoping and praying that the food would arrive soon so that he had a reason to stay in his chair. The waitress came back after a while. I thought perhaps she was here to freshen our coffees since she didn't have our food, but she was back to ask about our bread options since she had forgotten to ask before. She offered us biscuits (although our meals were supposed to come with toast) and I said that would be fine since I didn't want any more confusion to our order. As she walked away I watched the waitress for the family next to us bring their food out.

Our waitress soon returned with the biscuits and I was able to quiet my son for a few minutes. It didn't last and I was soon back to wishing our food would come. The table beside us got up and left, their meals finished, check in hand. They had placed their order and eaten in the time we'd been waiting for ours. Thankfully, almost as soon as they'd left, a new server came out with our food. My son popped up into his chair, and the first words out of his mouth were "Where's my bacon?". I was upset to see that the side of bacon I ordered for him hadn't come with the rest of the food. My mother-in-law was quick to put a sausage link on his plate next to his egg to appease him, and he quieted back down.

I took a bite of my food. It was cold. It was all cold. The eggs were cold, the meat was cold. I sighed and began to eat it anyways. The waitress wasn't nearby to ask her about it, and since I'm the one that does the serving at home before I sit to enjoy my own meal, I'm used to eating cold food. I asked my mother-in-law about her food, she said it was warm, not hot, but warm enough that she wouldn't complain. I touched a finger to my son's egg. Cold also. At least he didn't seem to care. He was talking non-stop about turtles and playing with the peg game on the table.

When the waitress finally did come back she asked how our food was. I questioned her about the missing bacon first. She said that it had gone to another table by mistake and she'd bring me another one. I told her just to take it off our check, my son wasn't making a fit about it, and by this time we were half done with our food. I also pointed out that my food had come cold. She offered to heat it up and I let her take my plate. I hadn't been able to eat more than one of my three cold eggs, it had an unpleasant texture that unsettled my stomach. I was hoping that a little hot food would fix it back up. Unfortunately, the eggs she brought back were too rubbery for me from the extra cooking, and my ham was greasy and curled up on the sides. It was altogether unappetizing. Of my entire meal, the only thing I had enjoyed was the biscuit.

The restaurant itself was clean and inviting, but in the end the bill plus tip came out to $30. For a fraction of the cost, I could have stayed home and made myself eggs and ham, which certainly would have been better than the ones I was served.

I didn't have time to speak with the manager unfortunately - I was already behind schedule due to the delay with the food. I'll send them an email this evening and see what sort of response I get. I may visit Cracker Barrel in the next month or so to see if anything has improved, but if it stays the same, I can't say I'll have any desire to go again.

Overall, I give my Cracker Barrel experience a C. (Location reviewed: #268, Pembroke Pines, FL)

Food: C-
Service: C
Cleanliness: A
Kid-Friendly: A
Prices: $$

22 comments:

  1. I worked at Cracker Barrel in HS and college, that sounded like a horrible experience. Make sure you let the manager or the website know your experience.

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  2. I definitely am! I sent an email tonight through their website, and on Monday I will probably go in to the store itself to speak to the manager personally.

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  3. Sorry for your experience. How frustrating. debbie jackson
    djackson1958 at hotmail dot com

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  4. Wow that is terrible!
    I hope you kept the receipt and remember the waitress name or atleast the way she looks .
    The waitress seems like she was new from everything you described .

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  5. Our Cracker Barrel is pretty much hit or miss....food is so-so and service varies. I hope the manager is able to resolve some of those issues. miacarey@tds.net

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  6. The cracker barrel near here is very good... I haven't ever had a bad experience there. I would definitely go on their website and send them a comment about your bad experience
    Sherri Lewis
    lewislibrary4052@hotmail.com

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  7. I always recommend using the website to sonvey issues to the restaurant manager...usually, the manager, especially at chain stores like this, really wants that feedback,since his bonuses and job itself are dependent on how well the place is run. No place is without issues of some kind, but the important thing is that whatever the issue, it is handled promptly and graciously and effectively by the manager...and it usually is. As an added bonus for you, management tends to send you a gift card to cover the cost of your next meal I'm so sorry you had a problematic visit---which is ALWAYS magnified by having young kids with us, lol!

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  8. This Cracker Barrel is not too good. We usually eat at Cracker Barrel once a year on a road trip. I've always gotten the country fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. I've had cold green beans, but the steak has always been on par. The MS Cracker Barrels are the best.

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  9. The Cracker Barrel near my house is usually very good. I don't think I have ever gotten cold food from any Cracker Barrel, even when we are traveling. I definitely think it was a good idea to write them on their website and if need be, go and talk with the manager. I would hope that they would make it right for you. I know how hard a bad experience can be when you have a young child along as well. A hungry child is never a happy child!!

    jreed@brytammfg.com

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  10. Wow, what an awful experience. The Cracker Barrels in our area have always been outstanding.

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  11. Wow, what a bad experience! I've never ate at a Cracker Barrel but after reading this I realize I don't need to. lol.

    pokergrl8 at gmail.com

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  12. Wow, I've never had a bad experience at Cracker Barrel.

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  13. I think I've only eaten at Cracker Barrel once & it was a good experience .. but like all restaurants maybe it was an "off day" for the cooks ..

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  14. You know....I had always heard rave reviews about Cracker Barrel from my ex-neighor. It was a weekly place to have meals on a Friday or for breakfast on the weekend. She and her hubby along with the kids would always rave about the place.

    There was not a CB in our area so they'd have to drive a good half hour to reach the nearest one. Fast forward to about 5 years later they finally made one in our area.

    I have yet to try it however my mom and grandmom were excited to try it one day they were out and about running errands. I couldn't wait to get home at the end of the day to ask them how their meal was as she had briefly texted me in the morning where they were at.

    My mother....said...it...was....not....good. Which was such a disappointment as I had such high hopes for this restaurant. She stated she did not like the food. (they had breakfast) The hasbrown casserole had huge chunks of onions in it, the eggs were rubbery and overcooked, same goes for the sausage, it was burned as well. My granny said it was okay but it is not a place she would visit again.

    So on Sundays when we are leaving church, we pass by it and I'll see a long line of customers waiting to get it, I frown and remember the review. Maybe one day I'll give it a chance but forego the hasbhrown casserole.

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  15. I have never been to cracker barrel but your experience makes me reluctant to go!

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  16. Went to Cracker Barrel once when I went to Texas...it was okay....there was a ton of massively overweight people there
    pedidentalasst at yahoo dot com

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  17. It seems like from all the posts here that Cracker Barrel is one of those hit or miss restaurants. I did email the corporation regarding the service, but I never got a response back. I plan on returning in a month or so to see if I just had a randomly bad experience!

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  18. I love the Cracker Barrel! I haven't been in about 5 years :(

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  19. Oh we usually have a great experience with Cracker Barrel! I'm sorry you didn't!

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  20. I love Cracker Barrel!I eat at the one closest to me a least 2x a month.I have not had a bad experience at this one before.Sorry that your experience was bad.

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  21. I can identify with your experience as I had a similar one at my local cracker barrel. I did get to talk to the manager who was very nice and accommodating taking off the 3 bad meals. About a month or so later I returned and things were much better. I hope that happens to you on your return visit. wilcarvic
    [at]gmail[dot[com]]

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