The Sad Reason The Cracker Barrel Backlash Makes Sense

Cracker Barrel is known for many things: buttermilk biscuits, Southern-style cooking, patio chairs, knick-knacks, the list goes on. While these are all good things to be known for, it's safe to say that the old country restaurant has been the target of more than a few controversies over the years.

One recent example involves Cracker Barrel's attempt to market towards the vegan consumer base with its new "Impossible Sausage." This was met with a rather shocking pushback from the chain's fans. CBS News reports customers were "disgusted" with the chain's attempts to market towards the "woke crowd." The meatless sausage was considered to be in stark contrast with Cracker Barrel's claims of real home-cooked foods. Some customers seemed to be so outraged by Cracker Barrel's newest menu items that, according to FOX Business, there were even calls to boycott the restaurant. 

"We don't eat in an old country store for woke burgers." was one particularly strange comment, referring back to the idea that the introduction of plant-based meat was "woke."

Cracker Barrel assured customers that meat products would still be on the menu. But some were still peeved at the idea that a restaurant known for its "made-from-scratch" cooking would promote a product so "out of line" with its beliefs. While plant-based meat is indeed a strange thing to get upset about, perhaps people's distrust for Cracker Barrel may come not from more than the food. Some claim a history of accusations and racist behavior is built into the restaurant.

Cracker Barrel has a history of accusations of racism

TikTok user Alina Gene posted a video regarding the controversy of Cracker Barrel's meatless sausage. In the video, Gene notes that this anger may have its roots in the chain's long history of supposed racism and homophobia. The user cites reports of African-American customers being served food from the trash and discrimination against homosexual employees. Many comments agreed with this sentiment, with one comment calling Cracker Barrel a "Jim Crow-themed Applebees."

Indeed, accusations of racism and discrimination have been muddying the chain's image of a wholesome country store for some time. In 2004 ABC News reported that Cracker Barrel was sued by twenty-one people for $100 million for allegedly promoting segregation against African-Americans and unfair discrimination by staff. Rumors even abounded about Cracker Barrel's very name (via Politifact), with some believing the store's logo shows a slavemaster's whip and a barrel used to store them. In reality, the term "Cracker Barrel" comes from the barrels of soda cracker general stores used to sell in the 1900s (via Southern Living). While Cracker Barrel has denied any claims of racist behaviors or symbolism, some still view the country store with a hint of suspicion.

Backlash against racist behavior and meatless sausage aside, Cracker Barrel has had more than its fair share of controversies and scandals. While we obviously can't say whether or not Cracker Barrel is actually guilty, it is a surprise to see what goes behind the seemingly wholesome façade.