Fans of Cracker Barrel’s down-home menu items like chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, fried chicken, and breakfast all day, relax. Your favorite restaurant isn’t going anywhere.
In 2021, rumor had it that Cracker Barrel, beloved for its homestyle comfort food and country store, was going to close. As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.
Cracker Barrel has been around since 1969 when its first restaurant opened in Tennessee and is still going strong. Located along America’s interstate highways, Cracker Barrel gives travelers as well as locals a place to get a homestyle meal and maybe play a game of checkers while sitting in a rocking chair.
Cracker Barrel founder Dan Evins had a vision of creating an old country store for the modern world, and he succeeded. The restaurants are favorite spots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and their old country stores are known for their holiday decorations, souvenirs, toys, clothing, gifts, candy, and more.
The Cracker Barrel decor feels like you’re visiting an antique shop, adding to the nostalgic, country appeal of dining there.
So is Cracker Barrel Actually Closing?
While Cracker Barrel was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic like many other restaurants were, the good news is that Cracker Barrel is as healthy a choice as one of its home-cooked vegetable dishes, or maybe even healthier.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store saw revenue growth year over year of more than 11 percent and total revenue of $862.26 million. Wall Street analysts rate its stock, CBRL, a hold.
That doesn’t sound like a restaurant that’s closing. There are 665 Cracker Barrel restaurants in the United States, according to Cracker Barrel.
Where Did These Rumors Come From?
Why would anyone look at the full Cracker Barrel parking lots and think these fan-favorite restaurants would be closing?
According to trusted myth-buster Snopes, the rumor about Cracker Barrel closing began with clickbait content on the internet.
The advertisement included the eye-catching headline “Saying Goodbye: Stores Closing in 2021 Across the Nation (See Full List)” above a photograph of a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
Those who clicked on the article wouldn’t see Cracker Barrel on the list of stores and restaurants closing, but the implication from the photo and headline was there.
Cracker Barrel’s history of scandals and lawsuits may have also added fuel to rumors of the restaurants’ demise.
In the early 2000s, Cracker Barrel faced numerous accusations of racism and discrimination that led to a lawsuit filed by the NAACP and a U.S. Justice Department investigation. The suit included claims that African Americans in several states faced discrimination, segregation, and poor service at the restaurants.
The Justice Department didn’t fine Cracker Barrel, but the restaurants did have to put diversity and anti-discrimination programs in place and monitor progress through hiring undercover diners. The restaurant business settled a series of racial discrimination lawsuits for $8.7 million.
Cracker Barrel didn’t add sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy until 2022, after having the worst possible score – a zero – on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. That score is now 60/100, showing it still has a long way to go.
The restaurant corporation also faced a social media firestorm in 2017, when Bradley Reid Byrd questioned Cracker Barrel on Facebook about the firing of his wife. Cracker Barrel’s social media accounts were flooded with posts carrying the hashtag #JusticeForBradsWife.
The company has also been accused of gender, disability, age discrimination, and sexual harassment, which has resulted in more legal costs. Cracker Barrel notes their diversity efforts online, so hopefully, they’ve changed their ways.
Will Cracker Barrel Close in the Future?
There’s no guarantee a business won’t face accusations of discrimination in the future, and continued growth isn’t a sure thing for any restaurant.
Business conditions, bad publicity, and changing trends often lead to restaurant closures.
Still, there’s no reason to think that Cracker Barrel locations will be closing anytime soon. The restaurant seems to be working at repairing its reputation, and they’re a comfortable spot for down-home cooking.
Other Restaurant Closings
Just because Cracker Barrel is seeing its revenue grow post-pandemic doesn’t mean every restaurant is doing well.
Multiple restaurant corporations are closing scores of locations. Steak & Shake, Applebee’s, Ponderosa Steakhouse, Red Robin, Krystal, Joe’s Crab Shack, and Golden Corral all have shut down restaurants to cut their losses.
At least two on that list – Joe’s Crab Shack and Ponderosa owner Metromedia Steakhouses – have filed for bankruptcy.
The biggest worry you should have about Cracker Barrel is what you’re going to order off its large menu of homestyle favorites. Catfish and hushpuppies, turkey n’ dressing, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, flaky biscuits, and comforting casseroles – the choices are seemingly endless.
Cracker Barrel has plenty of fans who enjoy eating breakfast for dinner there, complete with eggs, bacon, and pancakes, or digging into mashed potatoes, roast beef, and gravy just like mom used to make.
You might be concerned about what to choose or how you’ll burn off that slice of apple pie on your next jog around the block, but don’t worry about Cracker Barrel closing. This homestyle favorite and its country store vibe will be around for a while.
Check out the best food at Cracker Barrel while you can! If there’s no Cracker Barrel near you, check out Cracker Barrel copycat recipes you can make at home!
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