Although I tend to view Cracker Barrel as my own sort of sociological experiment, the truth is that it’s a business, and a profitable one at that. Nestled just off of the interstate in about 500 different places, Cracker Barrel has found its own niche in a competitive market. And the Cartersville Cracker Barrel is one of the busiest of all.
When I first started working at CB I was warned to stay away from the Sunday morning shift. Indeed, it is the busiest time of the week with church-goers and weekenders and what-not, but the real reason to stay away is to keep some sort of sanity. The GM of store number 59 is a nice man really, but on Sunday morning it’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
His job is to make sure the restaurant runs smoothly and makes as much money as possible. To do this, the term “teamwork” is thrown around and the goal is for everyone to work together (dishwashers, cooks, servers, cashiers, etc.) and get as many customers through the doors and back out of them at a reasonably quick pace. The gage of how well we’re doing is the “goal hour,” and if we don’t reach enough of those with our sales our GM has to answer to his boss. He doesn’t like to do that, so he’s constantly yelling at servers to “get the order” which ends up kind of rushing the guest, stressing out the workers, and having his eyes almost bug out of his head until we reach the $1600 mark each hour. I’m surprised he hasn’t fallen over from a heart attack yet.
One thing that seems to have calmed him down just a bit is the new “Goal Hour Baby.” It’s a baby doll that some child left behind already without clothes, which my manager swears he tried to throw away but somehow it just kept returning to his office. So he decided to keep it, put a pair of found sunglasses on its face, and write “GOAL HOUR BABY” in blue marker across its chest. Someone else added the peace sign tattoo on its foot.
As creepy as it is for grown men to carry around that demented looking doll, they love it. Usually they break it out after they’ve stressed everyone into achieving their desired goal hour, and then they’ll set it in peculiar places, take cell phone pictures, and send them to the next boss up the managerial hierarchy.