Is This Normal? Cracker Barrel Gives Me A Free Meal To Make Up For A Short Wait

It’s refreshing to read about good customer experiences, and in this case, we’re just as happily baffled as our reader Nicole. She’s looking for some consensus regarding Cracker Barrel — you see, she and her sister got a free meal, without asking for it or even complaining to wait staff after waiting a short time to get their food.

Nicole wants to see if she and her sister were just in the right place at the right time, or whether this is a common thing for Cracker Barrel to do.

She writes:

I recently had a strange customer experience on which I am hoping to get some perspective. I went out to lunch with my sister, who wanted to go to Cracker Barrel. I’ve rarely been.

We placed our order and after what I would consider a reasonable wait, she commented on how she had never waited this long for food at the Cracker Barrel before and pointed out that the table next to us had their lunch already when they sat down after us. It was a fairly busy lunch hour, and I mentioned that the couple next to us had both ordered the special so it would be quick out of the kitchen, and that I doubt they make many of the grilled chicken sandwiches like I had ordered.

Shortly after that the waitress came by and said our food would be right out. She brought our plates about a minute later, apologized profusely for our wait, and told us the manager had offered to buy our meals. I was surprised, said it hadn’t been much of a wait at all, and that I would be happy to pay. She filled up our drinks, and when it came time to get the check, simply told us to have a nice day. I put a twenty on the table and we walked out.

I’m curious to know what others would have done in this situation. I don’t think the waitress was around to hear us talk about the slow service, which I pointed out wasn’t really that slow at all. It seems strange that a restaurant would offer to pay for a meal without first even seeing if we were really upset. Are they just used to dealing with grumpy old people? Do they have some kind of corporate policy that if your food isn’t out of the kitchen within a certain amount of time it’s free?

Again, awesome but baffling. Let us know if Cracker Barrel is always this nice, or whether Nicole is just one lucky diner and we’re all jaded for being amazed at great customer service.


Edit Your Comment

  1. pop top says:

    Cracker Barrel is the kitschy, over-priced, tasteless cousin of Bob Evans.

    But kudos to Nicole for tipping so awesomely.

    • theblackdog says:

      I can’t stand Bob Evans, too greasy for me.

    • Snoofin says:

      I wouldnt say they are overpriced, at least around here. Bob Evans cost more than Cracker Barrel. I usually get Chicken Fried Chicken with 2 sides and a drink for like 11 dollars after tax. Hell it cost like 8 for a crappy meal at McDonalds.

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      Wha? Cracker Barrel is cheaper here… And they know how to cook bacon AND they make decent sausage gravy.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        If “decent sausage gravy” means the white goop that turns to cement if it sits for more than 2 minutes, you haven’t ever made sausage gravy from scratch.

      • delicatedisarray says:

        Here too. The amount of food you get for the price is amazing!

    • Sonicjosh says:

      This only becomes true if you switch the places of “Cracker Barrel” and “Bob Evans” in your post.

    • anime_runs_my_life says:

      Acutally, I can’t stand Bob Evans. They’ve screwed up more meals than I care to count. Cracker Barrel screw ups? None.

      I’m not sure where you’re getting overpriced at, when the most expensive item on their menu isn’t even over $10. The husband and I are hard pressed to spend more than $25 there, even if we get dessert.

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

      Annnddd now I want some bacon. Thanks, assholes!

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      …that would imply that Bob Evans isn’t kitchy, over priced, or tasteless. When in reality…both are.

    • kc2idf says:

      I can’t speak to the quality of Bob Evans, though I will generally agree on Cracker Barrel. Their salads are pretty good, though.

      More to the point, though, I’ve found that Cracker Barrel generally has mind-blowingly fast service for a sit-down restaurant. I’m thinking they comped the meals because it was slower than they typically go.

  2. ShruggingGalt says:

    Wondering if the manager found their ticket, and the kitchen had misplaced it which is why they hadn’t gotten their food….so the manager is proactive in the situation because it wasn’t the waitress’ fault.

    • skylar.sutton says:

      This. I used to wait tables…

      The other scenario is, the waitress had a rush of tables and forgot to punch the ticket into the system, so she keyed it in as a rush order and dropped the manager a heads up.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        I did too and that’s probably what happened. That being said, our Cracker Barrel almost always has extremely fast, excellent service despite having huge crowds of diners. Glad the OP treated her server well.

  3. ThatTastesTerrible! says:

    Should have asked for a free rocking chair from the giftshop.

  4. missy070203 says:

    in the total of 5 times I’ve been to crackerbarrel everyone there was unusually nice…. and the food always came out super quick (which I suspected was pre-made)

    • SisterMaryPollyEsther says:

      Nope. Microwaves are verboten at the Barrel.

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      The Cracker Barrels that I’ve been to usually takes 30 minutes or more from sit down to dinner arriving at the table. I went one morning at 6:30am on my way out of town. I wanted to get a decent breakfast before being on the road for 8 hours. We waited more than half an hour for BREAKFAST food.

    • italianbaby says:

      one day i ran into a woman that had worked at cracker barrel for years, and she told me that all their food is made from scratch daily. including pies, biscuits, etc. when your order their meatloaf diner, the mash potatoes and meatloaf is made daily. so there you have it.
      she said it’s been like that since day one.
      i myself like cracker barrel, they give you good food for a decent price and i love the peg game on the table.

  5. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Cracker Barrel is often really quite nice service wise, and the company seems to give a lot of leeway with freebies they can offer to people.

    Mr. Aroo and I used to eat there fairly often and we became a regular of an amazing waitress named Hazel. She was awesome and we really liked her a lot. When we became her “regulars” she would give us free dessert and not charge us for our drinks.

    She moved away and we still miss her.

  6. brinks says:

    I love that Cracker Barrel serves breakfast all day! I’ve never even looked at the lunch/dinner menu.

    I don’t think they have any kind of policy, as I’ve had to wait a while and have never been comped. What I bet happened was that another server or busser overheard part of the conversation and thought they were complaining, then passed it on to the server. It’s nice to see how Cracker Barrel management responded.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      I love breakfast all day too, and I also love that they’ll let anyone order from the kids’ area of the menu, which comes with a free drink. The kids items seem to be about the size that a regular meal should be. lol.

  7. shadowboxer524 says:

    I’ve been to Cracker Barrel many times, and in my experience, it always takes a while to get your food. I know I’ve never been offered a free meal for a wait. I’m not an impatient person, but it just always seems to take a little too long. I just thought that was CB standard. Hmm.

  8. dolemite says:

    I’m wondering if she and her sister are hotties and the manager threw them a wink.

  9. sirwired says:

    I like Cracker Barrell service well enough, but I’ve given up on trying to like their fool. Greasy, salty, and in some cases, just plain vile.

    And the bolted-on cheesy giftshop to pace in while you wait for your food doesn’t help out either.

    • NotATool says:

      Fool = food fail! Ha.

    • GirlWithGloves says:

      That gift shop can be awesome if you take a good look around. Hard to find candy brands or baking products, seasonal items, yummy scented candles etc. I found a cute black cat spatula there for very cheap last Halloween! It’s nice for a whimsical cheer up.

    • trillium says:

      The bolted on gift shop is my go to place for last minute Christmas gifts. It never fails at this time of year, something is always on sale. This week – Woodwick candles!

  10. Rachacha says:

    I was one time at a RRed Robin with my family. Somehow the hostess never told our server that she had sat us. Another server who was closing out her section noticed that we had been sitting there for a while (3 -5 minutes at most) and no one had come over to take our drink order. She came over, apologized, took our drink order and said that she would get our server. Our server came back with our drinks, again apologized for the oversight and took the rest of our order. We asured our server that it was not a problem, and honestly, we did not notice any delay, no worries. He left, and a short time later, the manager came over, apologized again and said that she would be comping our entire meal for the 4 of us, including dessert if we wanted it. We told her it was not necessary, but she insisted. When the bill came, everything had been comped by the manager. We left a tip of about $30 (the only cash we had on us)

  11. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Microphones. At the table.

  12. zep says:

    Cracker Barrel has always been fine with me. Not great but by no means horrible. The people inside typically look like they REALLY enjoyed the Left Behind series, but whatever…I don’t typically like to chat about religion or politics at CB…I just want my french toast and coffee.

    As long as you know what you’re in for then CB can be an enjoyable experience I guess. They’re “too nice” but that’s their thing…so it’s not that surprising that the manager bought the meal.

  13. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I dunno, we went to a really HIGH END place and it took a while for us to get our appetizer and they comp’d it – I think its up to the management, tbh.

  14. marc6065 says:

    Cracker Barrel is the replacement for the old style diner of the past with the plate lunch special type of food. Yes probably 80-90% of their food is premade, all the vegtables, chicken dumplings and meatloaf etc. Now if you order something grilled or fried then they probably have to make that or are in the process of making some and keeping up with orders so you might have to wait a few more minutes. Now the food is not gourmet but that is not what you go there for it is just good old fashioned home cookin. The only time I have ever really had to wait for anything is if I just got there right after a blue-hair bus tour just pulled in and had to wait to be seated. Yes they are just little bit higher than a local diner would be but guess what?? you can’t find many of the good ole meat and three palces anymore. Never got anything free but never really had to wait nor am I a “hottie”!!!

  15. coopjust says:

    Chick-Fil-A has given me a free sandwich coupon for having to wait in line for 2 minutes (use at next visit, does not expire). I didn’t ask either.

    Never have been offered a free meal at a sit-down restaurant though.

    • zyphbear says:

      I still have some coupons from Chick-Fil-A in my car from about Ten months ago when I waited almost 25 minutes for my food. They don’t expire but since I have no plans to return (due to while they would take my money, they use it against me and not treat me the same due to whom I want to marry), they won’t be getting used either.

      • parliboy says:

        Can you mail them to me?

      • Ceric Neesh says:

        I’d use ’em! I’m in the same boat as you: I’ll never spend money there, but I’ll use coupons for free food all the time. My friends actually know, and those who get coupons often give them to me so I can join them there to eat on a regular basis. I get to screw them by eating free, and I don’t have to give up delicious healthy chicken goodness.

  16. abruke says:

    Sorry…I’m in NY, and Cracker Barrel is a brand of cheese ’round these parts.
    But if someone offers you a free meal, you say YES!

  17. DanKelley98 says:

    Have never had a bad experience at Cracker Barrel; always a great meal with great people….that said over multiple locations.

  18. richard_toronto says:

    While the food isn’t the “greatest”, I’ve found it a nice change to your typical burger fast food when I’m on a long road trip – and regardless of where I’ve gone, the staff has always been friendly and the service and speed good.

    Kudos to the manager/server, and double kudos to the diner for leaving a great tip.

  19. El Sabor Asiatico says:

    I dunno, if I were somehow stuck eating at Cracker Barrel, I’d want to be compensated for having a SHORT wait for the greasy pig slop that they serve. Normally people prefer to put off painful experiences for as long as possible.

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:


  20. CharlesFarley says:

    Solid response by throwing down a large tip.


  21. Buckus says:

    They’re trying to avoid discrimination lawsuits like they had in the 90’s. I still won’t go there, FYI.

  22. some.nerd says:

    This happened to me, my wife, and a couple friends at Applebee’s (I know) once.
    We didn’t complain, our service was fine, but the manager came over, apologized profusely, and comped our entire freakin’ check- we consumed probably $80-100 worth of food between the four of us.
    We were equal parts confused and happy. It felt odd.

  23. some.nerd says:

    MC Chris rhymes:
    “I like Cracker Barrel, I like the peg game
    I like the old people, they all have leg pain”

  24. rosie1925 says:

    Our Cracker Barrel (N FL) tends to be too fast for me. But, it is on the highway, and caters to travelers, so fast is probably a plus. And, I find it to be very fairly priced. Home cooking, nothing special, and usually pretty good.

  25. D in Buffalo says:

    Sorta same thing happened to me at Chipotle. I ordered my food through the iPhone app and set the pickup time. I got to the store about 2 minutes after the pickup time and it wasn’t ready yet. No biggie because there wasn’t a long line..and it takes about 1 minute to make the entire burrito. There was a new-ish person at the register and the manager was helping her..when I handed my debit card to pay, he said, “It’s on us – we were late!” I was totally surprised – when they told me it wasn’t ready, I was just like..”Oh..okay.” I think it’s nice that they take the timing so seriously – and back it up with action.

  26. Bodger says:

    I’ve never had what I would call ‘good’ service at Cracker Barrel. On at least one occasion it has been downright horrid.Come to think of it I’ve never had what I’d call especially ‘good’ food either but when my elderly relatives demand to go there isn’t a lot I can do about it.

  27. ajlei says:

    Cracker Barrel is the shit. I would love to have one in Portland. I miss those deeeeelicious chicken and dumplin’s.

    That’s really awesome that they comped your meal. I’ve eaten there several times in different states on the East coast, and I’ve never found their service to be slow in the slightest.

  28. Gravitational Eddy says:

    OK, so everybodys gonna rib CrackerBarrel now, huh?
    I see you. Buncha hypocrits thats what you are.
    Don’t tell me…… for a big ‘ol bowl of beans and some decent cornbread. and onions, I’d consider bodily harm if someone was standing in my way.

    I have bad news.
    Cracker Barrel no longer serves “real” fried chicken. At least the ones here don’t. If they still have 100% on-the-bone fried chicken (breasts,wings thighs,legs) where you are, take them up on it. I can’t get mama to cook like that at home.

  29. cmikaiti says:

    Cracker Barrel is where you should go if you are attempting a long (8 hour plus) trip. They allow you to “rent” audio books for the car ride. You pay full price at the first one, but can turn it in at any other one and get a refund of most of the price. Whenever we go on long car rides, we’ll eat our first meal at one, get a book to listen to, then eat at another one on the way back, return the first book and get another. Then just stop into the first one later on at your convenience to return the second book and walk away with cheap entertainment for a car ride…. that alone makes them great.

  30. dragonbox says:

    Had a weird experience like that at Pizza Hut. I placed a call-in order – “about 15 minutes”. I show up 10 minutes later and they forgot to put my pizza in – they comped me even though I didn’t care, because Pizza Hut is normally so fast up here. Not even 10 minutes later I walked out with the hot pizza in hand…

    //is it me or is my pizza hut one of the fastest pizza joints around? :|

  31. Cat says:

    When nobody’s looking, white people give each other free stuff.

  32. free2571 says:

    A reasonable wait at a Cracker Barrel? I thought this might be an “Onion” article.

  33. anime_runs_my_life says:

    Every Cracker Barrel I’ve ever been to has had stellar service. The only time it was even remotely bad was when the husband ordered the steak and for whatever reason he never got his complete meal – they forgot the potato. Cue the manager comping all the meals and even offering dessert.

    We go every couple of months because I have to have my open-faced roast beef sandwich fix.

  34. philpm says:

    No, they are not always this nice. I’ve walked out of the same CB twice after waiting 15 minutes or more just to get waited on. One of those occasions, a manager actually followed us to the door but never said a word to us.

  35. meltingcube says:

    Something similar happened to me at Ruby Tuesday in which the waiter didn’t hear my mother correctly during the order and came out with the wrong meal. The waiter apologized, came out with the correct meal promptly, and comped us for that item.

    I ended up tipping the guy $20 due to the way it was handled. People make mistakes – it’s how they handle it after that shows what kind of person they are.

    • anime_runs_my_life says:

      Ugh..Ruby Tuesday has gone downhill so much since they “reimagined” themselves many years back. Even then, the service at the one by our house wasn’t the best.

      Our last (and we’ve decided final) visit, the manager gave the husband a lecture about how we didn’t know the difference between medium and well done. He had ordered his steak cooked medium and twice he got it well done. The third time it came out rare, and rather than say anything, he just ate it. The waitress had the good sense to find an assistant manager to comp his meal and gave us free dessert. I think she was embarrassed to have to take the poorly cooked steak back to the kitchen.

  36. lyllydd says:

    Don’t know about their policy, but they are extremely good at customer service. I live across the street from a Cracker Barrel, and we do carry out from there on those ‘let’s make somebody else cook’ nights.
    In about eight years of ordering from them, I think they have slightly messed up our order maybe three times. Each time, we got an apology and something nice like a free dessert or an amount taken off our next order.
    Could it be possible that a large chain restaurant actually LIKES having customers?
    As for the food, I took it as a tip-off when I saw some Amish people eating there – and we live in the Chicago suburbs.

  37. Firevine says:

    Hot damn I love Cracker Barrel. Love love love their cornbread. Any place that serves breakfast all day is aces in my book. Never have had a wait like that at my local one, even when they are busy. Never had subpar service either, and even FANTASTIC service one time. I made it a point to let the manager know how good the waiter was, and I think I gave him $10 or so on an under $20 tab. Good job on the manager here, and good job on the OP for tipping $20!

  38. HalOfBorg says:

    We were at Bob Evans, and my wife picked up her full iced tea – and the bottom of the glass fell off! This was her first sip and she hit nothing. Iced tea everywhere!

    Waiters/Waitress’ came right up and cleaned it, the manager got there fast and did the whole apology / free meal thing. Offered to pay for the cleaning of her clothes as well.

    Not an interesting response, I know, but a funny story. At restaurants we always watch the glasses closely on that first sip (humorously).

  39. Michael Bauser says:

    I had something similar and weirder happen at a Macaroni Grill a few years back.

    I was traveling for my job, and it was the proverbial restaurant next to the hotel, so I walked over to have dinner by myself. The hostess seated me, and I sat there for didn’t seem like an unreasonable amount of time to me, but then a waitress came to the table, apologized for making me wait so long, and told me my dinner would be free.

    Now, the weird part: A couple of nights later, I went back there for dinner again. Somebody recognized me at the door as the the guy who had to wait too long, and the hostess made a point of promising me I’d get their very best waitress this time.

    Now, the REALLY weird part: After I ordered my dinner, the waitress decides to SIT AT THE TABLE WITH ME for a while so I won’t be alone. (I told her she didn’t need to do that, and she left.)

    So, yeah. Get bad service at the Macaroni Grill, and THEY’LL GIVE YOU A DINNER DATE WITH A WAITRESS.

  40. maxhobbs says:

    Does absolutely no one cook and eat at home? I’m not talking about nuking some boxed garbage from the store either.

  41. dourdan says:

    at an AMC a mnovie that was suposed to start at 5:00 started at 5:15. a manager came in at 5:05 and handed out free tickets good for any movie, even new releases.

    i guess it’s just what the manager on duty thinks is right.

  42. woostr says:

    This happened to my family at a Chili’s in Austin once, several years ago. When the waitress brought our food, she apologized for the long wait. When my parents asked for the check, the waitress said it was on the house.

    It wasn’t just one or two entrees, either. It was an appetizer, sodas and entrees for five people. I think there may have even been a dessert in there. My parents’ reaction was to scrounge up as much cash as they could and ended up leaving about $60 (the cost our meal would have been) in cash as tip.

  43. JReedNet says:

    Take what is given to you, unless you feel poorly about accepting it. I was given at $250 watch for $25 after my out-of-warranty broken watch was unable to be repaired.

    In this case, I think it was very nice of you to put $20 on the table. I might have made it $25 if I had a $5 handy.

  44. tillzen says:

    A BILLION dollars says they were Caucasian.

  45. Darury says:

    The last time I had a meal comp’d, I earned it. I sub’d onion rings with my meal instead of fries with sandwich. The food shows up and there are THREE onion rings. I make the comment to the waiter along the lines of “wow.. just 3 onion rings huh?” mainly to be amusing, but nothing serious. He says “Well, they are jumbo onion rings”. Then he asks if I want the manager called over, which I decline. I wasn’t upset, I just wanted to eat my lunch.

    Five minutes later the manager comes over and asks why I’m complaining because after they are JUMBO onion rings. He then spends roughly 15-20 minutes arguing with us over our expectations on the onion ring serving size. The word JUMBO came up about 6 times in his defense.

  46. MrEvil says:

    Taco Bueno gave me $10 in gift cards because I told them I thought their eggs on their breakfast items were too salty. Wasn’t a problem for me because their regular menu is bloody tops.

  47. use2b2t2 says:

    I worked at Cracker Barrell in 1985-86 with the owner’s son Meechum Evans in Douglasville Ga. He was the best boss.

    I know that as the years passed the food has changed, I can honestly tell you that at my time the food was prepped fresh. I can tell the difference and suspect pre-made as it is not the same.

    I made the cobblers from scratch and also the biscuits. Hashbrown Casserole and the turnup greens with hamhock. I cooked those in big steam ketleles the hamhocks and pulled the meat from them myself for three days.

    No frozen foods and everything fresh.

    Meechum left and there was a manager of who I do not remember the name of. I was seventeen at the time and about to go USAF.

    It was a busy night and I was working in the back cooking all the veg, hashbrown casserole etc.

    We had pots that would melt the lard and they had been broke for months and I would melt the bacon fat and lard in the ovens. One night It was busy and I placed to pans of lard to melt to make bicuits and lost track of time and they were in uppoer ovens. I pulled on out and the hot grease sloshed out pouring on left arm.

    I should have been scarred more but I managed to slam it back in only my left arm injured and rushed to the sink and opened the cold water full and stuck my arm in it. My brother was a front cook and came to the back potion of the kitchen to get chicken and dumplings and froze seeing me in pain holding my arm under water. “Are you Okay?””

    I held out my arm melted flesh hanging from my arm and held it out. “Get John I’m Hurt.”

    John was the manager at the time after Meechum left and came back as my brother pleaded to call an ambulance and John replied he did not want to disturb the customer’s.

    My brother called my mom while I continued to cook. I was a young gal then and dedicated.
    My mom came in rasing hell and she took me away and the locak hospitol had a serious crash and it would be hours.

    She took me to an emergency clinic ran by a company as I slumped down for by that time I was in shock.

    The doctor gave me a shot and I felt no pain and heard singing as the nurse debraded my burn.

    Needless to say after the months of complaining the melting pots were replaced.

    I wanted to go into the AirForce full time from reserve and requested the weekend before I left off and John denied it saying if I did not show than I would be banned and banned for life working Cracker Barrel. Needles to say I took off and sure banned to this day.

    My mom said I should have sued but to get in the Air Force you could not have any lawsuits pending. Despite her pleas to sue as I identified the failure I did not and served fifteen years in USAF as I wanted it so badly.

    Yes, based on my prior expirience the food is now pre made.

    The founder’s son Meechum left our store after a altercation with his father and opened a new resturubt, Been a few years so not sure hor it went. Abd yes Cracker Barrel I did not sign a nondisclosure and if you do not believe it there are records.

    I can tell you I do enjoy Ceacker Barrel but the food is not the same

  48. use2b2t2 says:


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  50. RSA@consumerist says:

    Cracker Barrel is not always this nice. My wife and I stopped at one once to order a quick breakfast: coffee for both of us an a toasted bagel for her. Fifteen minutes went by without the bagel, and I noticed that other people who came in after us were already being served. I asked the waitress what’s happened, and she said our paper order had gotten stuck to the one in front of it. No apology from her–apparently these things happen. Five minutes more went by, during which time I saw a bagel being brought to another table. We ended up putting a dollar on the table and just leaving.

  51. msky says:

    Whats Cracker Barrel?

  52. drblair says:

    The local cracker barrels used to be good, now it seems they suck. Welp.

  53. Fumanchu says:

    Cracker Barrel went through a rough patch for me in the mid to late 90’s where I stopped going becuase the food wasn’t ever any good. But then I was “forced” to go to one because it was the only option where I was and it was amazing. Great food and great service, I have been to about 4 different ones since then and they have been the same way. So, while I stay away becuase its so unhealthy I do recommend it to people becuase its been really really good for the last 6 years.

  54. Rick Sphinx says:

    Cracker Barrel is pretty good. It’s low priced. But like all restaurants, it depends on what you order. Everything there is pretty much pre-made, and arrives quickly. I usually get the chicken fried chicken, and the hash brown caserole if very good. Two can eat with tip for about $21, which is good. I refuse to go to Golden Corral buffet anymore, yes more food selection, but I don’t like the hustle/bustle just to eat, it’s a no-manners free-for-all. Disgusting. At least at CB I can sit down and eat in peace, and then shop for candy! Oh yea, Golden Corral now has a chocolate fountain, yea, I call it Disease-o-fountain. At the buffett, people just throw the serving utensils, handle and all, into the food, it’s just gross.

  55. kennedar says:

    We had something similar happen this weekend. We were at a local non-chain restaurant for a family dinner, so there were 7 of us. It was a fairly big order and my mother-in-laws steak sandwhich came at most 5 minutes after the rest of the meals. The chef came out to apologize and she said it was no big deal. When it came time for dessert, the chef came out and told her that dessert for the table was on him because of the wait. The dessert easily cost more than her meal. They got a VERY good tip and a great review online because of the service.

  56. impatientgirl says:

    Time is relative. Your meal could have been in reality way outside their set expectations for delivery but your perception of the wait could be skewed because you were enjoying talking to your sister and seeing the commotion going on around you. They were being nice. Good job on the tip though.

  57. ouijabored says:

    Something like this happened to a friend and I at Ella’s Deli in Madison, WI. After ordering, we were busy chatting and catching up (and looking at all the toys/decor), so we didn’t notice the “long” wait for our food. When she brought our order, the waitress apologized profusely for the wait and told us we could each order any dessert we wanted and it would be on the house to make amends. It was surprising but awesome.

  58. lawlzillakilla says:

    I worked at my local Cracker Barrel for a total of about two years, and i can say that as a former employee, they really care about their customers. In the kitchen, they have a computer system that tracks the cook time on all of the orders. Anything above 15 minutes is unacceptable, and usually results in someone getting yelled at. What probably happened is the order took longer than the 15 minute mark, and the manager payed for the meal in order to avoid reporting it to home office (which would make him look like he was unable to maintain order in the kitchen)

  59. guspaz says:

    Once, a restaurant made us wait an hour and a half to be seated (after giving us a 15 minute wait time estimate) because they didn’t want to push two tables together. The manager promised a free dessert as compensation, then reneged on the deal when presenting the bills, claiming he would only give us our softdrink free (nice, since I didn’t HAVE any). I returned the no-longer-free desert and paid without a tip (because of the horrible experience), and then got bitched at by a waitress for not tipping… *facepalm*

    Suffice it to say that we will never return to that restaurant. Of which our large group of friends had been regulars for years. Because they wouldn’t comp a $3 dessert. Brilliant business sense, these buffoons.

  60. Carribbeandreams says:

    I been going to Cracker Barrel for 17 years. My recent experience in Little Rock, Arkansas, store# 634, was a disappointment. I had to wait 30 minutes for my food. When my food arrived the steak was burnt and my hash browns were cooked so long that they were hard. The general manager, Kevin, introduced himself to me and apologized for the over cooked food. He asked me how I wanted it cooked. I said I wanted the steak cooked medium. He took my crappy food with the burnt steak and potatoes and runny grits, that it took Cracker Barrel 4 times, to finally get them cooked right! Then brought me back a steak that was burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. I did not even finish my crappy meal and I still got a full bill for it. When I complained to the manager he said, let me take care of this for you and I got a $2 discount off a $12 bill for a PIECE OF TURD MEAL! I will not likely go back to Cracker Barrel ever again because it is over-priced crappy food. I should have gone someplace else.