I work at Cracker Barrel – rocking chair sales & a strict no free food policy are among ways the chain keeps prices low

CRACKER Barrel is known for its famous rocking chairs, warm fireplaces and filling meals at low prices. A huge breakfast plate will normally only run you about $10.

If you’ve ever wondered how prices are able to remain so affordable, here are some secrets that not even the most frequent Cracker Barrel patron would know.

One of the first things most customers notice when walking into a Cracker Barrel is the iconic wooden rocking chairs. Each location features a front porch with chairs lined up, making it hard to resist relaxing in one of them.

You can purchase one of the chairs for yourself for around $200 a pop and it seems that many people do as Hinkle Chair Company, which has been making hand-crafted rocking chairs for nearly 200 years, creates about 200,000 of them per year for the restaurant.

Despite being operated by two different teams, the revenue generated from the gift shop and the restaurant is put together, meaning that the sales from the rocking chairs help to keep the restaurant side going.

Because of this, the prices on the menu are subsidized to keep things affordable.

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While most restaurants have a firm rule about giving out free food, there are cases where exceptions are made. However, Cracker Barrel doesn't seem to share the perspective with their strict "no free food" policy.

In 2014, a 73-year-old veteran said he was fired from a Cracker Barrel in Florida after giving away a few condiment packets and a corn muffin to a homeless man.

The employee apparently already had a few strikes against him for previous actions that went against company policy, making his termination legal.

The rule makes it so the restaurant always turns a profit with their food, keeping prices cheap, Mashed reported.

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Cracker Barrel is known for its yummy breakfast options, including its hash browns made with shredded potatoes, Colby cheese, and chopped onions.

The signature hash brown casserole gets baked in the oven so it comes out crispy and creamy.

However, an alleged Cracker Barrel cook on Reddit claimed that one of the ingredients includes frozen hash browns.

"Our recipe is pretty simple. It's like onions, cheese, margarine, cream soup base, salt, pepper, and frozen hash browns," wrote the so-called cook.

Another Reddit user claiming to be a backup cook at a restaurant stated the cheese sauce "comes in frozen bags."

When asked if the sauce was more comparable to Velveeta cheese or actual cheese, the cook wrote: "Definitely more like velveeta than real cheese. Also we use the same cheese for our broccoli cheddar chicken except it’s a little sweeter."

If the cook is correct, this means that Cracker Barrel is streamlining the dish by using a cheese sauce that's already pre-made. These simple tricks apparently help to make the prices of the dishes cheaper on the menu.


According to the company's website, Cracker Barrel serves around 230million guests per year, earning a bunch of revenue.

Nearly 40 percent of those guests are travelers, as Cracker Barrels are usually located near highway exits.

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As the country's interstate system was growing in the 1960s, founder Dan Evins believed it was the perfect opportunity to launch a chain of restaurants on roadsides to cater to people who often travel.

The country stores were added so patrons could also do some shopping after their meal. Because of this, Cracker Barrel now brings in a total of $3billion in revenue each year, keeping prices affordable.

The Sun has reached out to Cracker Barrel but has not received a statement back at this time.

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