Cracker Barrel CEO Says Brand Isn’t “As Relevant As We Once Were”

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Cracker Barrel CEO Julie Felss Masino recently admitted that the brand isn’t as popular as it once was.

Known for its cozy atmosphere and classic Southern dishes, Cracker Barrel is facing challenges in staying relevant.

“We’re just not as relevant as we once were,” Masino said on a May 16 conference call.

Masino, who previously worked as an executive at Taco Bell and took over as CEO of the southern chain last August, highlighted the need for big changes to address the company’s declining sales and stock prices. She mentioned Cracker Barrel has lost some of its appeal and needs a makeover to win back customers.

“[W]e are not leading in any area,” Masino said. “[T]he reality is we’ve lost some market share, especially at dinner.”

According to CBS News, sales stayed the same for the restaurant at $935.4 million for the latest quarter, and the stock dropped by 40% in 2024. Masino’s plan includes updating the brand, adding more food choices, and renovating existing restaurants to improve the dining experience.

The proposed changes involve testing out new restaurant designs and completing 25-30 remodels by the year 2025. They also include introducing new dishes like premium savory chicken and rice, slow-braised pot roast, and hashbrown casserole shepherd’s pie, based on feedback from customers.

Cracker Barrel also aims to be smarter about pricing while keeping food affordable. Masino assured that although some menu items might get more expensive, they’re working hard to keep prices stable for most items.

“I want to emphasize that optimizing our price points across the menu doesn’t mean just increasing prices,” she said. “In several places, it may actually mean taking the opposite approach. We understand the lower-end consumer is challenged and value is and will remain an important part of the brand and we will work vigorously to protect it.”

As part of a pilot program, Cracker Barrel is trying out restaurant remodels, which involve using a different color palette, updating lighting, making seating more comfortable, and simplifying decor. Masino assured that the goal is to make the restaurants feel fresher and more inviting while still keeping that Cracker Barrel charm.

“The goal, simply put, was to freshen things in such a way as to be noticeable and attractive but still feel like Cracker Barrel,” she said.


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Dan W. Evins founded Cracker Barrel Country Store in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1969. Soon after, it had expanded to 13 stores in Kentucky and Georgia. Loved for its southern homestyle cooking, it became a beloved family-style restaurant by the early ’90s, with a $1 billion market value and double the revenue of similar eateries. Today, the chain remains in 661 locations in 45 states.