Cracker Barrel’s Old Country Store
Ah, there’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked biscuits, friendly smiles, and good old-fashioned country cooking. That pretty much describes Cracker Barrel’s Old Country Store.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. is an American chain of southern style stores that combines restaurants and gift shops. It was founded by Dan Evans in 1969, in Lebanon, Texas. Dan was a sales representative for Shell Oil and, his early Cracker Barrel locations all featured gas pumps on-site. In the mid- to late 1970s, the gasoline shortages drove Evins to build restaurants without gas pumps. Eventually, he phased them out, altogether.
In the early days, Cracker Barrel stores were located near Interstate highway exists to attract the traveling public in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States. During the 1990s and 2000s, the stores expanded across the country. Today, there are 650 Cracker Barrel stores located in 44 states.
In 1981, to raise funds for further expansion, Cracker Barrel became a publicly traded company and raised $4.6 million. This initial public offering allowed the company to grow at a rate of about 20 percent per year.
So, what’s on the menu?
Cracker Barrel’s down-home menu features dishes just like grandma used to make: big ol’ country breakfasts with hot buttermilk biscuits; country-fried steak and Sawmill gravy; roast beef; meatloaf; garden-fresh veggies; and, for a lip-smacking dessert, there’s baked apple dumplings and more.
Inside Cracker Barrel’s, the big stone fireplace and charming artifacts (all from the local area) make you feel “like you’ve come home.” To add a joyful touch to your meal, there’s live country music.
Cracker Barrel’s gift shop is a trip down memory lane for the old-timers and a real treat for the young ones who’ve never been to an old country store.
Cracker Barrel offers a helping hand to the community. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, they provided assistance to those in need; they also provide help to injured war veterans.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the company grew to attain a $1 billion market value, making its revenue twice that of any other family restaurant.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Corner Market
In 1994, the chain opened Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Corner Market, in suburban residential neighborhoods. The company also opened more traditional Cracker Barrel locations, with most of them being outside of the South. To serve their new customers’ culinary tastes, they added regional dishes to their original menu.
The interior of Cracker Barrel’s offers a warm and inviting ambiance to diners.
In 1997, they closed their Corner Market stores and focused their attention on the restaurant and gift store locations. The company’s then-president, Ron Magruder, stated that the chain was concentrating on strengthening its core theme, offering traditional foods and retail in a country store setting, with good service and country music.
Over the years, the company has implemented non-discrimination policies (which include sexual orientation) and has committed to improving minority representation and involvement in the African-American community.
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