Cracker Barrel, a renowned restaurant chain, found itself in hot water recently when a customer raised concerns about certain decorations within one of its Connecticut establishments. This incident prompted an apology from the company, which clarified the nature of these decorations and took swift action to address the issue.
The controversy began when a customer noticed what appeared to be “nooses” hanging from the ceiling of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Connecticut. However, it was later revealed that these items were not actual nooses but rather wrapped cords attached to decorative pieces. Despite this clarification, Cracker Barrel acknowledged that it was “completely unacceptable” for its employees to have overlooked the potential resemblance to nooses when setting up the decorations.
The incident gained traction on social media, with Alfonso Robinson tweeting pictures of the decorations and questioning their presence in the restaurant. Cracker Barrel responded promptly, explaining that the “noose” decoration was, in fact, a wrapped cord from an antique soldering iron as part of the display at the East Windsor restaurant. The company assured the public that the item had been removed.
Positive Conversation with Activists
In the aftermath of this incident, activists visited the restaurant and engaged in what was described as a “positive” and “constructive” conversation with the restaurant manager, Mark Smith. Keren Prescott, the founder of PowerUp-Manchester, noted Smith’s openness to addressing the issue. Smith acknowledged that the cord resembling a noose had been displayed in the restaurant for 22 years, and no one had raised concerns until recently. He invited Prescott to examine the premises and better understand the situation.
Prescott, in an interview with the Journal Inquirer, expressed her appreciation for Smith’s willingness to listen, stating, “At one point, the manager said, ‘You might notice things that I don’t,’ which I really appreciated because as a white man, he might not view certain things the same way a black person would.”
Calls for Review
On social media, several Twitter users urged Cracker Barrel to conduct a comprehensive review of all decorations across its locations or provide a timeline for the review process. In response to these calls, Cracker Barrel issued a statement to Fox News, emphasizing their commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. While acknowledging that some of their historic decor may resemble earlier times, the company stressed that its culture is firmly rooted in the present. Cracker Barrel expressed gratitude to the guest who brought the matter to their attention and promptly removed the controversial item.
Cracker Barrel’s aim is to maintain a culture of hospitality that respects and welcomes all visitors, and they consider this incident a mistake that needed correcting.