The gag involved customers sneaking framed pictures of themselves into the restaurant and placing them around other old-timey items. Some of the personal photographs were altered to black and white to better match the decor.
Cracker Barrel, which is formally known as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, is a U.S.-based restaurant chain. Its menu is described as serving “honest-to-goodness homestyle meals and southern food prepared from scratch.”
The most-viewed video that showed diners leaving behind a picture was from TikTok user @genevievew07. It was posted on April 9, 2021:
A follow-up video the next day confirmed that the photo was still there.
On the day after that, another video showed that a Cracker Barrel employee found the framed picture and said they “might take it home.” The customer who left behind the picture replied: “Love it!”
On April 12, another diner posted a TikTok video of a framed photo going up at one of the restaurants.
On May 5, a TikTok user named @cowibrand put up another photo in a Cracker Barrel. They even dressed for the part in overalls and altered the picture to make it black and white.
This all might seem familiar to some readers who remembered seeing a 2018 video of a similar occurrence at a McDonald’s. An idea to hang a large picture at the fast food restaurant was a bit of a prank, but it was also partially about diversity. It ended up earning the pair pictured in the photograph $50,000, courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres and McDonald’s.
Some of the videos warned about how decorations on the ceiling might make it a bad place to be during an earthquake. One clip was hashtagged with #AnotherFinalDestinationMovieInTheMaking. “Final Destination” referred to the horror film franchise. In the movies, groups of people aim to survive a series of strange accidents that take out their friends and family one by one.
The “you need to leave” TikTok sound effect is one of several that were used in these kinds of videos.
Miranda Joy Willmore and ‘Happy Birthday’
One of the most prominent Cracker Barrel videos on TikTok had nothing to do with the framed photos gag. Instead, it was all about Miranda Joy Willmore, who was recorded singing “Happy Birthday” to a customer:
Willmore thanked viewers for all the kind words on her own TikTok channel.
In sum, it’s unclear if the joke of bringing framed photos into Cracker Barrel was widespread before TikTok came along. However, the idea of leaving pictures behind might be a growing trend on the platform.