Cracker Barrel, founded all the way back in 1969 in Tennessee, is a chain of restaurants and gift stores with a Southern country theme. A favorite of many travelers along interstate highways, it operates over 650 stores in 45 US states. As you can likely imagine, such a big company is almost always hiring, for both full time and part time roles. Server, waitress, cashier, sales associate (working in the gift store) are the most commonly advertised vacancies by Cracker Barrel. In this article we will have a look at 10 most common questions you may face while interviewing for one of these role.
Before we start, let me make a few things clear. This isn’t a difficult interview. Cracker Barrel offers a training program with benefits to all its employees. They aren’t necessarily looking for experienced people. They are looking for people who are willing to learn and work hard. Your goal is to show such an attitude in the interviews. And you should also show some affinity for the Southern culture–think country music, pan-fried chicken, tough men, stone fireplace, woodcraft etc. Let’s move to the questions.
Why do you want to work for Cracker Barrel?
Try to praise the company and show your affinity for their brand. You can say that it is your favorite stop while driving along the highways, that you like the vibe of the place, type of food, how employees treat the customers, and now you’d love to join their ranks. It is also a good idea saying that you like the job description, and find it a good match to your strengths and personality.
Another option is saying you got a recommendation from one of your friends who works in one of the Cracker Barrel stores. They told you good things about the job, and the employee training program, and you decided to give it a try.
What makes you a good fit for Cracker Barrel?
First of all, you should point out that you are hard-working, customer-oriented, and that you like the atmosphere of the place. You can even call out a few competitors here, saying that you definitely feel better in Cracker Barrel than in Burger King, Olive Garden, or Dominoes… You find the place a good match to your personality. And once we feel good somewhere, it is always easier to at least somehow enjoy our job, and deliver the expected results.
Then you can talk about particular skills related to the role you try to get with the company, or any relevant experience you have. In any case, you should show confidence in your ability to handle the job, and to deliver the expected level of customer service.
What is your availability?
A very important question, and one you will almost always get. You should explain two things at this point. First one, when you can start in the job (whether you are still employed, or have some other obligations that restrain you from starting immediately).
Second thing is your availability on various days of the week. Can you work in the evenings? What about working on Sunday? Are you still studying? If you are, what hours exactly can you work? Try to explain these things, and make sure to show some flexibility. Hiring manager should get an impression that the job is important for you, and you are ready to sacrifice something for it.
Do you have your own transportation?
The majority of Cracker Barrel restaurants is still located along the interstate highways. Such places are often hard to reach by public transport. And the manager wonder whether you actually can get to work, and how.
If you have your own car, the answer is easy. If not, however, you should explain them how you’ll get to the restaurant. Check the options. If you live nearby, you can suggest riding a bike, or even taking a taxi (or a combination of bus and taxi). Just make sure to check the options in advance, and have an explanation ready in the interviews.
What are your strengths?
Just pick anything that matters for a job in a restaurant. Communication skills, responsibility, attention to detail, ability to handle a heavy workload and to work in a fast-paced environment, and so on. You can also say that you are a quick learner, since Cracker Barrel has this training program in place.
If they ask about your weaknesses, pick something that does not matter much for the job–computer skills, managing other people, etc, and ensure them that you always strive to learn new things and improve on your weaknesses. As long as you express this attitude, they will be satisfied with your answer.
How do you handle pressure?
Cracker Barrel is a popular place. And while at certain hours of the day you won’t have much to do, during the peak hours you may not even have a time for a toilet break. You should ensure the manager that you do not expect an easy ride, and are ready to work hard, and under pressure.
It helps if you can demonstrate this with previous experience, for example from some fast-food restaurant, or other fast-paced environment. Explain the pressure you faced there, and ensure the hiring manager that you did not crack under it.
Can you sell me this product (a pen, a mobile phone, etc)?
This is a tough not to crack, but you can face this question when applying for a Sales Associate job with Cracker Barrel. We have a special article dedicated to “Sell me this pen” interview questions, and I definitely recommend you to check it out.
In short, make sure to ask the customer questions, trying to identify their needs and wishes, and then explain how the product you try to sell them will satisfy such needs and wishes. And most importantly, do not refuse this role play. The manager does not expect to hear a flawless sales presentation from you. But they want to hire people with some courage, people who are not afraid to approach the customer and try to sell them something.
How do you treat an unruly or angry guest?
Customer is always right, even when they are wrong. Or at least they should feel that way. This rule applies to all retail establishments, and Cracker Barrel is no exception.
Ensure your interviewer that you will treat each customer with respect, regardless of their behavior. You won’t get involved into pointless arguments. If they are angry, you will try to understand the core of a problem and address it, and you will stay calm. You will simply do what you can for the customer, and then move on. It is also good to say that you do not dwell on negative emotions. Maybe someone treats you really badly, but it doesn’t mean that you will do the same to the next customer, just because you are upset…
Do you have any questions?
Many people say that you should always ask something, but I do not think so. If you feel that the interview went well, and they told you everything important, you do not need to force some unnatural question just to make sure you ask them something. Thank them for the interview, shake their hand, and that’s it.
Of course, if something is unclear–the wage, shift patterns, exact working duties, working on Sunday, etc, you should definitely ask about it. It is better to ask a seemingly stupid question than to sign a job contract and then end up negatively surprised on the first day of your new job…
Interviews with Cracker Barrel belong to easy interviews. Read this article one more time, think for a minute about every question, and you should be ready to get the job. Just make sure to show some affinity for their brand, and your willingness to learn and work hard. And if you still aren’t sure or feel nervous, check the following articles:
- How to overcome interview nerves? 4 strategies that will help you conquer your interview anxiety and show your very best on the big day.
- 15 most common interview questions – What are your weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years from now? Why should we hire you? Learn how to answer the questions you can face while interviewing for any job.