Cracker Barrel CEO Sandra Cochran leads charge for chain’s racial, LGBTQ inclusivity

sandra cochran

It was so bad at Cracker Barrel in the early aughts that the U.S. Justice Department forced the company into a plan to end discrimination that violated the Civil Rights Act, including turning away black customers.

Even as recently as the 2016 election season, political pundits used the company as shorthand, referring to Cracker Barrel vs. Whole Foods counties. The implication meant rural at best and backward or alienated at worst.

So it was a surprise to many this week when Cracker Barrel came out with a crystal-clear denunciation of LGBTQ discrimination, issuing a strongly worded statement about why it had banned Knoxville pastor Grayson Fritts and his church members from using a Tennessee Cracker Barrel as a meeting place.

“At Cracker Barrel, we work hard to foster a culture that is welcoming and inclusive — we have a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory treatment or harassment of any sort,” the release said. “We take pride in serving as a home away from home for all guests and in showing our communities and our country that the hospitality we practice is open to everyone.” (read more)

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