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Cracker Barrel vs. Waffle House: Where Should You Work?



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When venturing into the food service industry, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the vast number of potential employers. A common problem faced by many aspiring restaurant workers is choosing between two popular Southern chains: Cracker Barrel and Waffle House. Both establishments offer unique work environments and benefits, making the decision even more challenging. In this article, we’ll help you navigate this conundrum by diving into the various aspects of working at these two iconic restaurants, such as job opportunities, benefits, work culture, and growth potential.

Job Opportunities

Cracker Barrel, known for its Southern-inspired menu and charming country store, operates over 660 locations across 45 states. Job opportunities at Cracker Barrel include server, host, cook, retail sales associate, and management positions. Employees have a chance to work in both the restaurant and the retail store, providing a diverse range of experiences and skill development.

Waffle House, with its famous all-day breakfast menu, has more than 2,100 locations throughout 25 states. Employment opportunities range from server, cook, and dishwasher to management and corporate positions. Given the smaller size and simplicity of Waffle House operations, there may be fewer roles available than at Cracker Barrel, but the opportunity for advancement is still present.

Benefits & Compensation

Cracker Barrel offers a competitive benefits package to its employees, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan with a company match, an employee stock purchase plan, paid time off, and flexible schedules. Additionally, Cracker Barrel provides employee discounts on meals and retail purchases, as well as scholarship opportunities and ongoing training and development programs. But it is important to note that they perform a Cracker Barrel background check on potential employees before they deem you eligible for the benefits.

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Waffle House also presents a comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan with a company match, paid time off, and an employee stock ownership plan. Furthermore, Waffle House offers flexible scheduling, meal discounts, and a scholarship program for employees and their dependents.

Work Culture

Cracker Barrel strives to create a welcoming, family-friendly environment for its customers and employees alike. Employees are expected to provide warm, hospitable service and uphold the company’s core values of integrity, respect, excellence, and teamwork. Team members are encouraged to support one another, and managers often work alongside employees, fostering a collaborative atmosphere.

Waffle House prides itself on maintaining a fast-paced, high-energy work environment.

Employees are expected to be efficient, attentive, and able to work well under pressure. The company values teamwork, and associates are encouraged to support each other during busy shifts. The smaller size of Waffle House locations often leads to close-knit teams, fostering strong camaraderie among employees.

Growth Potential & Advancement Opportunities

Cracker Barrel offers a variety of development and training programs, such as its Emerging Leaders Program, which helps identify and cultivate future leaders within the company. Employees have the opportunity to advance within the organization, moving from entry-level positions to management or even corporate roles. The size and scope of Cracker Barrel’s operations provide a broad range of opportunities for career growth.

Waffle House promotes a culture of internal advancement, with many of its managers and corporate employees starting in entry-level roles. The company offers management training programs and encourages employees to work towards leadership positions. Due to the smaller size of Waffle House operations compared to Cracker Barrel, there may be fewer opportunities for career growth. However, the strong emphasis on promoting from within ensures that dedicated employees have a clear path to advance within the organization.


When deciding between Cracker Barrel and Waffle House as potential employers, it’s important to consider the unique aspects of each company. Cracker Barrel offers a more diverse range of job opportunities and a slightly larger benefits package, while Waffle House presents a fast-paced, high-energy work environment and emphasizes internal advancement.

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Ultimately, the decision of where to work will depend on your personal preferences, goals, and aspirations. Both Cracker Barrel and Waffle House have a lot to offer in terms of job opportunities, benefits, work culture, and growth potential. Before making your decision, consider what aspects are most important to you and which company aligns best with your values and career objectives. By taking the time to evaluate your options, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed choice and find the best fit for your future in the food service industry.

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