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Leon Kaye headshot

The Social Media Fuss Over Cracker Barrel Shows Why Companies Need to Just Be Authentic and Carry On

By Leon Kaye
Cracker Barrel

In case you missed it, the sky has fallen as the restaurant chain, overnight RV parking scion and rest stop staple Cracker Barrel recently decided to serve the Impossible plant-based sausage patty as an option on its breakfast menu.

The result has been a gift that keeps on giving after the company posted the menu item on Facebook, as the faux outrage began (the following responses were copied verbatim):

“I Use to Love your store Now No Way”

“I can’t believe Cracker Barrel has bought into this ‘fake meat’ junk!”

“Its not about being triggered. When a company like CB buys into the Woke Burgerking Crap, and even calls it "impossible", they have lost all touch with the individuals they are marketing to. I can assure you this will proof to be a bad misstep! There would be nothing wrong with a Vegetarian menu item, but the fact they choose this timing and type of language, is another matter.”

“Read the room and understand your base. It’s not that there are options, it’s that yet another woke company will bite the dust with this one.”

“I just want to know why all these companies feel that they have to follow the leader on all of this crap. Cracker Barrel is a great company and they got great Without Woke Meat. Get the message most people don't want this crap. You are only appealing to a small percentage of people. I still love Cracker Barrel but please stick to your roots.”

The joy of this saga, of course, is in the responses, and something is going on with Meta’s algorithms as the more mocking comments — not necessarily the ones expressing “vegan, yay!” — have filtered their way toward the top of the comments section, including:

“Imagine being angry that a restaurant is adding an item to their menu for non meat eaters.”

“Holy sheet. Lmao y'all act like the Cracker Barrel staff is gonna come out and cram impossible sausage down your throat. Honestly, for some of y'all, I'd buy a ticket to that event.”

“I go there to eat peanuts off the floor pretty soon they'll replace them with vegan peanuts what is the world coming too...”

“Such is the toxicity of our time: Menu options are now perceived political slights. What a world.”

“Imagine being triggered that people will have an alternative that’s not a mf salad. Cracker Barrel should add mushroom gravy to their menu too!”

“I often wonder if Mark Zuckerburg envisioned that his little project to rate girls on the internet would turn into a forum for thousands of old people to yell at Cracker Barrel for adding a menu item they didn't want. Absolutely wild.”

“Next time I'm at a Cracker Barrel, I'm ordering everyone in the restaurant one side of Impossible Sausage (no substitutions) then I'm going to sit back, enjoy my coffee, and watch the tantrums ensue.”

The angst toward Cracker Barrel hasn’t abated quite yet, as a post earlier today about its stuffed cheesecake pancakes with a side of curbed delivery pickup provoked comments such as “I hope it’s not dairy free.”

The response of Cracker Barrel so far to this spit-spat has been understated yet brilliant. When asked by CBS News about the kerfuffle, a company spokesman replied that it “appreciate[s] the love our fans have for our all-day breakfast menu,” and that the company has a goal “to satisfy every taste bud — whether people want to stick with traditional favorites like bacon and sausage or are hungry for a new, nutritious plant-based option like Impossible Sausage."

Granted, Impossible sausage shouldn’t be remotely as triggering as what has been going on with volatile issues such as immigration, LGBTQ rights and abortion. Nevertheless, the episode involving Cracker Barrel this week shows some timely lessons — overall, it’s all right to take a stand on a social (real or perceived) issue. Those who are upset will most likely stick around; you might score some new customers; and even if politicians take up the mantle and try to gaslight the public by passing legislation that singles your company out, the odds are that the system of checks and balances here in the U.S. still prevails ... at least for now.

Image credit: Cracker Barrel via Facebook

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye