Cracking the Code: How to Get a Job at Cracker Barrel

restaurant table with food on it in a rustic brick restaurant

Cracker Barrel is more than a beloved restaurant chain that serves up fantastic comfort food; it is also a major employer within the US. Originally established in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1969 by Founder Dan Evins, the restaurant takes its name from the 19th-century American tradition of customers gathering at country stores to share news and play checkers atop barrels that were used for crackers, thought to be the origin of the term “cracker barrel.”

Today, Cracker Barrel continues to uphold the tradition of connecting people around the table, but now, with multiple stores across the country, they’ve earned a reputation for providing “a friendly home-away-from-home” atmosphere in their old country store and restaurant, which develops loyalty amongst both customers and employees. 

As a significant employer, Cracker Barrel offers a wide range of job opportunities, from server to store manager, and from culinary roles to positions at their Home Office. The company values diversity, equal opportunity, and kindness, all while maintaining a focus on pleasing people—be it guests or their own staff.

If all this sounds appealing to you as a job seeker, keep reading. I’ll walk you through what you need to know if you plan on getting a job at Cracker Barrel and launching a new career!

Cracker Barrel Job Positions and their Duties

As you navigate the journey of how to get a job at Cracker Barrel, it’s important to understand what types of roles are available to you in the first place.

Cracker Barrel operates in two major areas: the restaurant and the retail shop. Within each of these areas, several positions cater to different responsibility levels. In both areas, the company relies on a number of different types of team members in order to keep the business running like clockwork. 

Remember, the duties of a Cracker Barrel employee vary based on position, but there are common threads that link them all – delivering top-notch customer service, creating a homey atmosphere, and upholding the company’s standards and protocols.

With all that in mind, let’s explore the duties that accompany some key roles at Cracker Barrel.

Host / Hostess

As the initial touchpoint for our guests, the host is responsible for greeting customers with a warm acknowledgement, managing waitlists, and guiding patrons to their tables. 

With a keen eye on the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, hosts/ hostesses ensure a fluid traffic flow to afford patrons and staff alike a smooth and pleasurable dining experience.


Their duty circles around fulfilling customers’ orders accurately and swiftly. From taking orders to serving food promptly, all while being courteous and attentive, a server’s responsibility extends to ensuring customers have an enjoyable dining experience. Servers are the vital link between the kitchen and the diners.

Grill Cook / Prep Cook

For a cook, whether on the grill or in preparation, their focus is on quality and consistency. They are responsible for preparing and presenting menu items in accordance with the high standards Cracker Barrel holds. 

Strict adherence to cleanliness and safety rules is their mainstay, and it’s their duty to ensure every plate that leaves their kitchen adds a page to the delightful Cracker Barrel narrative.

Retail Sales

On moving to the old country store section, your role as a retail sales associate involves assisting customers with their purchases, stocking merchandise, and maintaining a clean and inviting space. 

Providing knowledge about the products and ensuring a seamless checkout process forms one of their primary responsibilities.

Managerial Roles

The role of a manager comes with broader responsibilities, encompassing staff supervision, inventory management, customer service oversight, and daily restaurant operations. 

Managers are entrusted with nurturing an environment that encourages teamwork and keeps employee morale high.

Skills and Qualities Desired at Cracker Barrel

As a job seeker on the path to a fulfilling career at Cracker Barrel, it helps immensely if you can display a well-rounded skill set and personality during your application and interview.

To help you understand how to do that, let’s go over a couple of skills and qualities that hiring managers at Cracker Barrel tend to look for in potential candidates. 

Excellent Interpersonal Communication

This is one fundamental skill Cracker Barrel values in its employees. The company’s day-to-day operation heavily revolves around people — whether we’re talking about diners, suppliers, or colleagues. 

For instance, as a server, you’ll have to communicate effectively with the kitchen staff to ensure orders are correct, while also providing warm, friendly service to customers. Or, in a retail role, it’s crucial to clearly explain product details or promotions to customers.

Attention to Detail

This is a vital quality, especially in creating those memorable dining experiences that Cracker Barrel is known for. Misunderstood orders or improperly arranged store displays won’t cut it. 

Attention to detail could also mean noticing when a regular customer hasn’t shown up in a while or if someone seems unhappy with their meal or purchase — and knowing the right steps to take in response.

Ability to Work Under Pressure

Cracker Barrel also highly values this. Just imagine a packed store on a Sunday morning, with breakfast orders flying in non-stop and impatient customers waiting by the door. Employees need to keep a cool head while quickly and efficiently managing their tasks.

Requirements for Employment at Cracker Barrel 

Besides the soft skills that Cracker Barrel looks for, there’s also a hard set of rules and requirements you’ll need to meet to get a job there. These requirements are there to ensure only committed and dedicated individuals are brought on board who can deliver top-notch service to their customers. 

Before you start to envisage your career at Cracker Barrel, it’s beneficial to understand these prerequisites. Bear in mind that these requirements might vary by location or specific roles, so it’s best to check the job description closely when you apply.

Still, here are a few general requirements you’ll need to meet in order to land a job at this company.

Age Requirements 

Every job comes with its age requirements. For most entry-level positions at Cracker Barrel, you must be at least 16 years old

Remember, if you’re in a position where you have to serve alcohol, you may need to meet the Federal minimum age of 21. Otherwise, you could get the restaurant in big trouble!

Of course, these age requirements vary slightly depending on which state you’re applying for. Make sure to read up on local rules and restrictions before taking the steps to apply. 

Education Background 

Your educational attainment can play a role in determining what positions you are suitable for at Cracker Barrel. For most entry-level and part-time roles, such as dishwashers, cashiers, or retail associates, there is typically no stringent educational requirement, and on-the-job training is provided. 

However, if you’re harboring dreams of moving into management, it’s notable that Cracker Barrel often prefers candidates who have a High School Diploma or an equivalent for managerial roles. 

Also, having an educational background in hospitality or a related field could further enhance your chances of being promoted.

Other Special Requirements for Certain Roles 

Certain positions may have additional requirements. For example, delivery drivers must possess a valid driver’s license and good driving record. 

If you’re aiming for a managerial role, you might be slated to have prior experience in restaurant or retail management. 

Furthermore, while not exactly a requirement, having the right attitude, great customer service skills, and the willingness to align with Cracker Barrel’s mission and values can ensure that you’re setting off on the right foot in your Cracker Barrel career journey. 

How to Apply For a Job at Cracker Barrel

Embarking on the journey to join the Cracker Barrel family is fairly straightforward. The first step in the application process is determining whether you would like to apply online or visit one of the many Cracker Barrel locations in person. Both approaches have their own distinctive advantages.

Regardless of which you choose, here’s a quick breakdown on how to go about applying for this unique company. 

Online Application/ Careers Website

If you’re like me and you prefer the ease of online applications, your starting point will be the Cracker Barrel careers website. It’s simple and intuitive to navigate. 

Once there, you’ll find the opportunity to search for job openings by position and location. You can easily apply to any position of interest, ensuring to polish your resume beforehand and tailor it perfectly to the specific role you’re applying for.

In your online application, you’ll need to provide your personal information, your employment history, and some references. You’ll also be asked to fill out a questionnaire that will assess your competencies like problem-solving skills, ability to work in a team setup, and your customer service aptitude. 

In-Person Applications

Simply pick a Cracker Barrel location near you and ask to speak with a hiring manager. Ensure to dress presentably as this impromptu meeting could essentially be your first interview. Bring along a copy of your resume and be prepared to fill out an application on the spot.

Common Interview Questions at Cracker Barrel

Let’s say you submitted your application materials and were lucky enough to get a call back. Congratulations! Now all that’s left to do is to ace the interview. 

Navigating the interview process can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. I have often found that anticipating the kind of questions that could be asked can help prepare a more confident response. 

In order to prepare for the interview, I suggest doing a ‘mock interview’ with a friend or family member using these questions. Always remember to be yourself, showcase your personality, and maintain a positive attitude throughout. Show them that you’re not only capable, but you’re also enthusiastic about joining the Cracker Barrel team.

Another pro tip is to implement the STAR method when answering behavioral questions. This method will help you fully and completely answer the question!

Here are several common interview questions you can expect when applying at Cracker Barrel:

“Tell me about yourself.”

This open-ended question is often the first one asked, and it gives you an opportunity to briefly discuss your background and work history. Remember to focus on what’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.

“Why do you want to work for Cracker Barrel?”

This question invites you to demonstrate your passion for the company. Try to talk about why you align with Cracker Barrel’s mission and values, and how you feel this role aligns with your personal and professional goals.

“Can you describe a time when you provided exceptional customer service?”

Cracker Barrel highly values its customer service. This behavioral question allows you to share an experience of when you went above and beyond to meet a customer’s needs.

“How would you handle a situation where a guest was unsatisfied with their dining experience or purchase?”

This question is about conflict resolution. Interviewers want to know how you handle criticism, resolve problems, and maintain a level-headed approach in a potentially stressful situation.

“Can you work under pressure or during busy periods?”

Cracker Barrel can be a bustling environment, especially during holidays and peak dining hours. Demonstrating that you have the ability to maintain your performance and composure during these busy times is key.

“What skills do you bring to our team?”

Here, they are looking for your unique strengths that can add value to their company. Talk about what separates you from other applicants.

Tips to Get a Job at Cracker Barrel

If you’re still not feeling confident that you’ll land the job at Cracker Barrel, there are a few other tips you should know about. I’ve put together a quick list of a few recommendations you can implement to help ensure you land your dream job at this company.

Understand the Company Culture

Cracker Barrel places huge importance on creating a homely, welcoming environment for their customers, and they’re looking for candidates who can uphold this culture. 

So, it’s crucial to show them that you understand and embrace their values. Spend time researching Cracker Barrel, its history, and mission. Be prepared to discuss how your personal values or experiences align with the company culture in the interview.

Display Good Teamwork Skills

Cracker Barrel’s operation heavily relies on teamwork. Therefore, having the ability to work well with others is crucial. You can share examples from previous jobs or personal experiences that display your team-oriented skills.

Show Dedication to Customer Service

Cracker Barrel is known for its outstanding service. Whether you’re applying for a server position or a retail role, be prepared to show your commitment to great customer care. You can do this by providing examples of times you’ve gone above and beyond to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Be Enthusiastic

Enthusiasm goes a long way in the hiring process. Show your excitement about the potential of working for Cracker Barrel. Employers are always on the lookout for employees who are excited about their brand and the work they do.

Be Yourself

This sounds cliché but it’s true. Cracker Barrel values authenticity and diversity. During the interview, let your personality shine through. Don’t just focus on what you think they want to hear. They are interested to know you as a person too.

Average Salary of Cracker Barrel Employees

One of the most common questions I encounter as a career coach from job seekers is invariably about compensation – “How much can I expect to earn?” 

This is a pretty nuanced question, as salaries can vary quite a bit depending on where you’re working and what your position is. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t a few averages we can generally base our answers on. 

Let’s delve into the average salaries of Cracker Barrel employees to help answer that question.

Entry-Level Compensation

Starting with entry-level positions such as a Server or Sales Associate, you might expect an average hourly wage of about $10 per hour. One thing to note about these positions is that  these roles rely heavily on tips, which can significantly boost your total income.

For individuals who possess strong cooking skills, a position as a Grill Cook or Prep Cook can bring in an average salary of $28,000 to $32,000. As with many restaurant jobs, Cooks at Cracker Barrel often see their wages increase with experience and longevity at the company.

Management Role Compensation

Shift Leaders typically earn around $15 per hour, while Assistant Managers and General Managers can command a salary in the region of $45,000 to $80,000 per year, respectively. The management salaries are typically dependent on the individual’s previous experience, skills, and the geographical location of the restaurant.

Benefits of Working at Cracker Barrel

As an employee at Cracker Barrel, you’re far more than just a cog in the machine. They place high value on their employees, recognizing them as integral to their enduring success. 

Besides the salary, there are some great benefits that you can get from working at this company.  Let’s drill down some of the appealing benefits that the company offers its workforce to keep them motivated and ensure you’re fairly compensated. 

Comprehensive Employee Benefits Package

Whether you’re a full-timer or a part-timer, you’ll have access to an array of advantages exclusive to the company. Full-time employees are eligible for medical, dental, and vision insurance. They are also included in the company’s 401(k) retirement savings plan, allowing for a secure financial future post-employment. 

On the other hand, part-timers can enjoy a host of perks, including weekly pay, paid vacation, and meal discounts during shift hours. 

Education Assistance Program

Cracker Barrel recognizes the importance of furthering the education of its employees. They offer a tuition assistance program, which is designed to help employees who are pursuing further education. It’s a reflection of the company’s commitment to fostering the professional and personal growth of its team members. 

Career Development Opportunities

What sets Cracker Barrel apart is its focus on career development. The company has a well-structured career ladder that takes you from entry-level to leadership roles—if you have the drive to climb it. 

They maintain the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store College, for instance, which allows for the development of management-level employees as they learn about advanced operational and leadership skills. 

So as an aspiring candidate, rest assured that Cracker Barrel nurtures a work environment that encourages growth and presents opportunities for career progression.

Next Steps

 Cracker Barrel is a place where you can start at any point and potentially work your way up – all you need is the drive and determination to do so. There are tons of roles to pursue, whether you’re thinking of being a server or you’ve got your eyes set on becoming a district manager.

While getting hired might have its challenges (let’s be honest, doesn’t every job application), with the insights we’ve covered, you are now better equipped to approach them. By preparing thoroughly for your interview, responsibly showcasing your best skills, and demonstrating an understanding of the brand and its values, you’re setting yourself up for a higher chance of success.

Ever wondered if you have what it takes to build a rewarding career at Cracker Barrel? Our dedicated career coaches are here to help you assess your skills, provide invaluable advice, and guide you on a path to success in this industry-leading company. 

Don’t miss out on this opportunity – chat with us today and let’s get you started on your journey towards a fruitful career with Cracker Barrel.

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