The Controversial Reason Cracker Barrel Once Prevented A Church Event

When you think of Cracker Barrel, the first things that come to mind are usually buttery biscuits, that triangle peg game, and a general store full of country kitsch. And that's true — Cracker Barrel is indeed famous for its down-home Southern comfort food and its rustic general store full of knick-knacks and candy. But some people don't just think about old-time American aesthetics or homemade biscuits and fried chicken when they hear Cracker Barrel, instead having some strong opinions about the chain regarding its biases.

The restaurant has had more than its fair share of scandals over the years, most relating to allegations of bias against race and sexual orientation. In 2015, FOX News said Cracker Barrel paid an incredible $8.7 million in a racial discrimination lawsuit that insisted the chain segregated white people and African-American customers. In 1991, reports of discrimination against employees who were homosexual flashed across the pages of The New York Times, describing how employees were supposedly fired for their sexual preference. While these are all just allegations, these claims have tarnished Cracker Barrel's image as a clean, wholesome place of friendly home cooking and nostalgia.

If you were to hear then about the restaurant interfering in an LGBTQ event, a cynic might say that it was moving to protest it. Imagine their surprise, however, when it would turn out Cracker Barrel may have actually supported the event.

Cracker Barrel banned an anti-LGBTQ pastor

"Cracker Barrel has become woke." This was the opening sentence to an Observer article on Cracker Barrel's actions against pastor Grayson Fritts in 2019. While it may seem strange for a restaurant built around traditional American values to prevent a pastor from holding an event in one of its restaurants, Cracker Barrel was actually standing against the pastor for his extremely anti-LGBTQ sentiments. The restaurant was tipped off about Fritts' event, and the company responded by preventing Fritts and his group from holding their event at the restaurant in question.

In a 2019 tweet regarding the banning, Cracker Barrel seemed to condemn Fritts' views. It stated: "We take pride in serving as a home away from home for all guests and in showing our communities and our country that the hospitality we practice is open for everyone." 

CNN reports Cracker Barrel even referred to Fritts' sermons against the LGBTQ community as "statements of hate and divisiveness." This seems to be a far cry from the supposedly anti-homosexual atmosphere and culture that some allegations have painted.

While one can applaud Cracker Barrel for proving certain doubters wrong about where it stands and moving against hate speech toward a particular group, one has to wonder how the more conservative side of its customer base feels about this. 

Cracker Barrel has been accused of going woke

In an article published in The Columbia Star, a strange observation is made: is Cracker Barrel going woke? The reason for such a surprising claim seems to be rooted in a specific new menu item offered by Cracker Barrel: the Impossible Sausage. The article details that many conservative customers seemed outraged by the introduction of the product. Indeed, CNN reports customers slamming the restaurant for offering what it refers to as a woke menu option, some even going so far as to claim that they would never eat at any Cracker Barrel again. TODAY tells us that some customers even decried this was a sign Cracker Barrel would soon be appealing to the woke crowd. All this is despite the fact that Cracker Barrel didn't remove, nor has any plans to remove, its regular sausage and meat-based products from the menu. 

On the one hand, if Cracker Barrel maintains its traditional American atmosphere, it will keep its conservative customers but drive away more liberal-minded ones. Yet if it shows signs of acceptance toward ideas such as meatless products and defending LGBTQ groups, it would bring liberal customers back but push away conservative customers. It puts the restaurant between a rock and a hard place, trying to navigate our modern world.