It started with gay rights groups and then with claims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Justice department has of late commented that experiences of discrimination are not aberrations in reply to the plaintiffs presenting their case to them. This has been proven by its acceptance of the 42 pages of Justice Requirement (Quittner, Jeremy 2003). The requirements aim at improving, enforcing and monitoring its compliance with anti-discrimination policies. This owe to the fact that whatever the legal outcome, Cracker Barrel has been embroiled in a potential public relations wrangles
Problems Discrimination against LGBT employees; there has been a number of lawsuit cases presented before the judiciary after the firm instituted the policy of not employing the homosexuals, back in 1991. Though they had the argument that heterosexual values are the foundation of families in the society; it augured doom to the homosexuals. LGBT workers were fired after admitting or were assumed to be gay within the first few months since introduction of this policy. The company refused to change their policy in the face of protest demonstrations by gay rights groups (Pc Heidelberg, 2007).
However, even after proposals by the New York City Employees Retirement system; ten years down the line, the company’s shareholders voted in favor of rescinding the policy. This saw the introduction of a new non-discriminative policy over sexual orientation. The controversy isn't the first to ensnare Cracker Barrel. However, the firm vehemently denies those accusations saying it quickly backpedaled. Discrimination against sexual orientation; still even after the company made effort to reduce the cases of discrimination reported, 90 employees out of the 150 interviewed observed that the company was not doing enough.
Cracker Barrel restaurant failed to implement effective policies or procedures to prevent racial discrimination. The company had to pay 2 million dollars for race and sexual harassment at three Illinois restaurants. Lately, this Store now display a sign in their front foyer clarifying this policy, as has become the policy after a similar incident involving Denny’s restaurants. Sexual harassment; there were charges of discrimination placed against Cracker by ten workers in three Cracker Barrel restaurants. They alleged the company subjected African-American women employees in those locations to sexual harassment and retaliation.
Management participated in grabbing female employees, propositioning them and laughing at their complaints. Obscene cartoons depicting African-American were circulated. What were portraying are pornographic photographs, obscene jokes, sexual propositions, groping and other sexual assaults. This claim is true as seen in their blog promising their clients how good they can get ‘essential features’ on celebs and other pornographic graffiti on their bathroom walls. Moreover, the firm paid $270,000 to former female restaurant employees after they filed a lawsuit against it.
Racial discrimination against customers; both in early 2000s Cracker Barrel was faced with accusations of racial discrimination. There was recurrence of this in 2006. This discrimination involved white servers refusing to wait on African American customers; and seated or served white customers before seating or serving similarly situated African-American customers; subjected blacks to racial slurs and gave jobs such as dishwashing to black employees as well as and treated African Americans who complained about the quality of Cracker Barrel’s food or service less favorably than white customers with similar complaints.
Managers were also said to participate in this discrimination set ups by directing, participating or condoning the discriminatory conduct described. They considered such accusations as ‘vast understatement’. One plaintiff by name Lorraine Nelson says she had to wait for an hour before they would be served. However, the firm maintains she waited for 25 minutes during the hearing of the case. After the press paid enough attention to these accusations, the company announced explicit policies intended to address the charges.
Michelle Williams, an African-American claim that someone vomited at her table and it took time before one could clear the mess. They also agreed to pay 8. 7 million dollars for the lawsuit involving 100 plaintiffs. Unlawful political campaign contributions; Cracker Barrel was among the eight companies indicted and accused of making alleged illegal corporate campaign contributions. This was toward the Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee (TRMPAC), started by Rep. Tom DeLay. However, the charges against Cracker Barrel were dropped.
Food scare; there was a food scare after a patron ate a metal fragment resembling part of a razor blade in her hamburger at a restaurant in May 2007. This led to temporal removal of hamburgers from the Cracker Barrel its menu at many of its locations. Ways employed by Cracker Barrel to overcome or manage the problems Settlement without admitting wrongdoing; Cracker Barrel agrees on settling any fine imposed on them but without admitting any wrongdoing. They vehemently maintain that they have policies banning discrimination.
Moreover they underscores that racial discrimination has persisted for 40 years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act and a decade after Denny's restaurants agreed in a landmark case to pay $46 million to settle claims of racial discrimination against patrons and to make dramatic changes in its policies. Cracker Barrel, consistently maintain that it has often found reasonable explanations for what plaintiffs perceive as discrimination — underscoring how difficult it might be for plaintiffs to win. The company says it has repeatedly poked holes in plaintiffs' claims during interviews and has fired employees for discriminatory behavior.
However, they have not deposed one employee adversely reported in this reports; Mr. Brown, for not reporting the incidents to the company. Bluffing the various reports; the company also uses the skullduggery technique where they bluff the reports. For example, about Michelle Williams complain, they claim the restaurant was understaffed and everyone was inconvenienced. It thus boils down to no employee volunteered to clean up the mess immediately. They also use the blog to advertise their goods and tarnish the complainants. For instance, they have a blog containing comments against those who tarnished it over the sexual harassment.
The comments made are aimed at attracting more customers than admitting their wrongdoing. In addition, Cracker Barrel predicts the lawsuits will be dismissed without going to trial. They envisage that a firm with more than 50,000 employees, 497 stores and 200 million meals served annually; there must be some employees who are going to make mistakes. Food scare has been catered for. Cracker Barrel has an extensive menu, with separate menu for breakfast and that for dinner. Specialties are made daily from scratch and hence less instances of physical contamination as that reported above.
Other online advertisements are made thereby targeting more of the customers. However, Cracker Barrel has been advised to check on various issues by the Department of Justice. These issues are: Hiring an independent auditor approved by both parties to monitor compliance. The auditor must have experience with civil rights enforcement or monitoring and management of a large organization. Use undercover customers in restaurants to check service. Post signs at restaurant entrances saying all customers are welcome. Post an 800 number on table tents, entryway signs and receipts to which customers can complain if desired.
Cracker Barrel had to post its nondiscrimination policy statement on its website and will include a link to it from the home page of its website and from the home page of its parent company CBRL Group, Inc. ’s website. Create a department to investigate allegations of racial discrimination and develop appropriate procedures. The department had to investigate on:
allegations that suggest discrimination on the basis of race or color against customers;
regularly review the Guest Relations database; and
develop appropriate written policies and procedures.
Fund the investigation department and supply additional staff if needed. The department head must report directly to the company's president. Send letters to customers alleging discrimination saying the complaint was received and a summary of what was done. This must be reviewed by the auditor. Have a restaurant manager receiving a discrimination complaint relay it to the investigation department within 24 hours. The employees who suspected of racial discrimination against the customers were supposed to report this to the investigation department.
The firm was to check on the quality of the food; this involved establishing a database and enter into that database all complaints and investigations of misconduct involving suspected customer discrimination. It was also to include, at a minimum:
the name, race, and/or gender of all complainants and involved employees;
the number of the store involved;
contact information for all relevant employees and complainants;
a textual description of the allegations; beside other fine details.
Current situation Cracker Barrel is said to be born and bred in quality. Quality has become their way of life. Every customer will find this at the heart of Cracker Barrel home cooked meals, and at the foundation of their growing success. There is an exceptional team of hardworking individuals in over 570 locations throughout the US and our team of professionals at our corporate headquarters in Lebanon. It has been voted by Restaurant and Institutions magazine as American’s first family dining concept 17 years in a row.
This is attributed to individuals who pride themselves on their innovative ideas, strong leadership talents they demonstrate and have an unparalleled passion for their work. Fear they suggest can be overcome by:
admitting it and hence seek assistance from friends;
understanding your fear as you built your protective reaction to certain situations;
visualizing yourself in control, imagine you succeed on what you fear;
find courage to face change;
reading as much as you can.
Strategic Sourcing; Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurants are using their brochures to create a good image for their lost reputation. This is to win the mind of the customers. For instance they stipulate issues on unrealistic expectations of self and others. The company also adopted the Retek Merchandising System (RMS) to aid the company in managing retail CRM, sales, supply chain management and logistics. Moreover, they implemented the UC4 Application Manager Enterprise job scheduler. This performs the task of handling application processing and batch scheduling associated with the new system and several other packaged and custom applications.
The UC4 Applications Manager tool provide them with a powerful front-end to handle the entire enterprise-wide scheduling needs and also offers seamless integration with RMS. This is quite easy to operate. Cracker Barrel uses UC4 Applications Manager to improve on the performance of ad hoc jobs by creating modalities that can run automatically but can be executed manually at any time. When a user moves the job into the normal scheduling queue, UC4 Applications Manager provides access to all monitoring, error handling and load balancing features that would be available to a regularly scheduled process.
The firm is also employing principal accountabilities include the development and implementation of sourcing strategies for the assigned categories, negotiating and documenting supply agreements, managing supplier performance and relationships, and operating as a contributing member of the Strategic Sourcing department and a variety of cross-functional teams. Online ordering; this method to stimulate online ordering by the customers. It trying and get the customer familiarize with and comfortable with the idea.
Restaurant companies can boost the customer usage by setting up Internet kiosks in the restaurant, and patrons could place mock orders and get a discount off of their next meal. Usage by age suggests the need for family restaurants to adapt to the online ordering trend youth is setting the pace, and future generations will increasingly expect the option.