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.