Find Cracker Barrel Near Me

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About Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., operating under the name Cracker Barrel, is an American chain of restaurants and gift shops in the Southern country style. The company was started in 1969 by Dan Evins 1969; the first store was in Lebanon, Tennessee. The corporate headquarters are in a different location in Lebanon, which is the exact location. The chain stores were initially located close to Interstate Highway departure points within The Southeastern and the Midwestern United States, but they expanded across the nation during the 2000s and 1990s. On September 16, 2019, the company had 663 stores across 45 states.

Cracker Barrel’s menu is inspired by traditional Southern cuisine, with a look and décor that resembles an antique general store. Each location has an inviting front porch adorned with rocking chairs made of wood, a stone fireplace, and decorative objecQ.ts from the region. Cracker Barrel partners with country musicians. It participates in charitable events, including providing aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina and wounded veterans of the war.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the company was controversial when the CEO and founder Dan Evins instituted an official company policy that prohibited hiring anyone whose “sexual preferences fail to demonstrate normal heterosexual values.” After a massive backlash from the public and shareholders with large stakes, such as the New York City Employee Retirement System’s threat to remove the entire top management of the business, it changed the policy. Over the next year, Cracker Barrel continued to create controversy with Evins and the company’s publicly and privately endorsed discriminatory policies against female and minority employees and actions that violated the company’s non-discrimination policy.

The first location and the early history of the company

Cracker Barrel was founded in 1969 by Dan Evins, a sales representative of Shell Oil, who developed the restaurant and gift shop concept to boost gasoline sales. It was designed to look like the traditional country store he recalled from childhood. Still, with the name chosen to reflect a Southern country feel, Cracker Barrel was intended to attract the attention of road travellers. The name is derived from the soda-filled barrel crackers in small-town stores throughout the American South in the early 1900s. People would sit in the barrels, talking and sharing stories like the modern-day water coolers in offices.

The restaurant’s first location was near Interstate 40 in Lebanon, Tennessee. The restaurant opened in September 1969. It served Southern food such as biscuits, grits and biscuits, country Ham, and turnip greens.

Evins joined Cracker Barrel in February 1970 and quickly opened other locations. In the early 1970s, the company purchased the land of gasoline stations close to interstate highways to construct restaurants. The first locations had gas pumps, and due to the gasoline shortage in the mid-1970s, the company began to construct restaurants without pumps. Through the 1980s, the company slowed down the number of on-site gas stations before eventually eliminating them as the business focused on its gift and restaurant revenue.

Cracker Barrel became a publicly traded firm in 1981 to fund further expansion. The company floated over half one million shares and raised $4.6 million. Following the initial public offer, Cracker Barrel grew at about 20 per cent per year. In 1987, the company had grown into a chain of over 50 locations across eight states and had annual net sales of around $81 million.

Markets are opening up and a new focus.

The company’s revenue grew steadily through the 1990s and 1980s and reached the market value of $1 billion in 1992. The year 1993 saw the chain’s revenue was almost twice as much as any other family-owned restaurant.

The chain trialled an exclusive carry-out store, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Corner Market, located in suburban residential areas. It also began to expand into new markets by opening more conventional Cracker Barrel outlets, with the majority located outside the South. Also, it tested changes to its menus to adapt to the new locales. The chain introduced regional dishes on its menus, such as egg and salsa from Texas in Texas and Reuben sandwich in New York, but continued to serve its menu items across all its locations.

In September 1997, Cracker Barrel had 314 establishments, aiming to increase the number of stores by about 50 per year in the next five years. The company shut down the Corner Market operations in 1997 and focused its efforts on its gift and restaurant stores. The company’s president, Ron Magruder, stated that the chain was focusing on strengthening its primary focus by providing traditional food and shopping in a traditional retail setting, along with excellent services and in-store country entertainment.

The chain opened its restaurant and gift shop that was not close to a highway in 1998 located at Dothan, Alabama. In the early 2000s, following allegations of racial discrimination as well as controversy about the policies of firing employees who are gay, the company launched several events to promote its brand, that included a national book drive and sweepstakes, which included visits to Country Music Association Awards and rocking chairs in the prize pool.

Since then, the company has started expanding into West Coast areas: in 2017, the first store they opened in the region was located in Tualatin, Oregon, and their first store in California was launched the following year at Victorville. In 2019 Cracker Barrel purchased Maple Street Biscuit Company for $36 million in cash.


The number of stores and restaurants owned by Cracker Barrel increased in 1997 between 2000 and 1997, reaching over 420 establishments. In 2000 and 2001, the company dealt with staffing and infrastructure issues in the wake of this expansion by adopting an improved recruitment strategy and introducing new technologies, such as an order-placement system. In the 1990s and into the mid-2000s period, the company focused on opening new branches in residential development areas to draw local workers and residents as customers.

It revamped its marketing in 2006 to entice new customers. It also changed the look of its billboards on highways to incorporate images of food items. Before that, the signs were dominated by the company’s logo. By 2011, Cracker Barrel had opened more than 600 restaurants across 42 states. On January 17, 2012, the company’s director Dan Evins died of bladder cancer.

Shop for food and gifts

The chain is a Southern-themed one. Cracker Barrel serves traditional Southern comfort food that is often described by its customers as “down-home” country cooking and offers gifts, such as simple toys from the 50s and 1960s. They also sell toy automobiles, puzzles and woodcrafts. There are also Country music DVDs and CDs from early classic television and cookbooks, baking mix, kitchen accessories, and traditional brands of candy and snacks. Breakfast is available throughout the day.

There are two menus available: breakfast and one for dinner and lunch. Since the establishment’s first day, the menu has included Southern dishes, such as biscuits, fried poultry, and catfish. Seasonal and regional items have been added throughout the 1990s and 1980s. 2007 was the first time Cracker Barrel announced plans to eliminate artificial trans fats in the menu items.

Locations, services and decor

In its early time, Cracker Barrel decided to place its restaurants along its Interstate Highway System. Most of its locations remain near interstates and other highways. Cracker Barrel is known for its loyal customers, particularly those who spend more money at restaurants than locals. The establishments are designed to reflect the classic Southern U.S. general store concept. Items decorating the stores are authentic artefacts, including everyday items from the 1800s and after.

Each store has a front porch lined with rocking chairs made of wood, a wood peg solitaire table, and a stone fireplace featuring a deer head on the mantel. Every store has five basic things: a shotgun, the cookstove, Deer Head, a phone and a traffic signal. Peg games have been featured at Cracker Barrel since the opening of the first store and are still manufactured with the same team from Lebanon, Tennessee.

The décor at each location generally includes items that relate to local culture and history in the region, including antique household equipment, wall calendars from the past, posters for advertising, and antique photographs. The concept was first introduced at the beginning of the store’s opening that featured decor with the help of Lebanon, Tennessee, antique store owners Don and Kathleen Singleton.

Singleton and Singletons continued to participate in the decoration of subsequent stores until 1979, followed by their son Larry Singleton, who was in charge until his retirement in 2019. The items the company acquires to use for decoration are stored centrally in the Tennessee warehouse, which is cleaned, restored, and catalogued until needed. In 2018, the facility was home to more than 90,000. 


Destinations magazine has presented the chain with awards for the best chain restaurant. In 2011 and 2010, the Zagat survey named this restaurant “Best Breakfast”.The Outdoor Advertising Association of America has chosen the restaurant chain as the 2011 OBIE Hall of Fame Award recipient due to its continuous usage of outdoor advertising. It was also named the “Best Family Dining” restaurant in a national “Choice in Chains” consumer survey in Restaurants & Institutions magazine for 19 consecutive years.



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