About Cracker Barrel®
50 Years of Pleasing People
Rising above America’s Interstate highways, a familiar sign greets travelers and local communities alike. Eggs break, biscuits bake, the scent of homestyle cooking rises. A cash register dings, chairs rock, checkers pass the time.
More than 45 years ago, a Tennessee man named Dan Evins saw an unmet need. The Interstate was expanding—connecting people to new places—but people on the move couldn’t count on a consistent, quality place to stop along the way. To stretch their legs, refuel, and find a good meal at a fair price. Evins had a vision to build an old country store to meet their needs—a place that preserved the ingredients of country life to share with travelers on the road and families from nearby.
Before Evins knew it, the idea was much bigger than him. Built by hard work, a mission of Pleasing People, strong values and Southern hospitality, the cooks, wait staff, operators and Evins Uncle Herschel McCartney—described as the “soul” of Cracker Barrel created more than a refreshing stop along one’s journey. They set an iconic American table for generations to come.
Fast forward to today and you’ll find that Cracker Barrel is a strong and vibrant business, grounded by a clear mission. Our brand is about being a home-away-from-home for everyone we welcome to our table. In some ways, it’s about coming home to the charm of a simpler time and place. But our business doesn’t stand still. We strive to strike a thoughtful balance between preserving all the little things that make us special while making changes that tomorrow’s guests will expect.
For instance, we are working to blend unseen technology into the restaurant experience while ensuring Cracker Barrel remains a sanctuary from life’s routines. We’re focusing on attracting employees and guests of all ages and backgrounds—setting a place at our table for every family in America. We are expanding the breadth of the merchandise in our stores—shaking up our seasonal displays nearly 40 times a year, with more than half of our 3,000 retail SKUs made up of an ever-changing assortment of special finds. From decor and collectibles, seasonal items, on-trend apparel and accessories, as well as year-round favorites like our rockers, we are making sure there is something on our shelves to delight every guest each time they visit. And we are working to bring even greater value, convenience and variety to our menu—whether it’s an iced latte enjoyed with breakfast that’s served all day, a meal offering a lighter twist on a homestyle favorite or one of our popular mainstays like chicken n’ dumplins.
At the core of who we are – and have been since the beginning – is our high-quality food, homemade with care. If we can’t source the highest quality ingredients for a menu item, we simply don’t serve it. We use blueberries from Maine, Valencia oranges from Florida for our fresh-squeezed juice, 100% natural syrup individually bottled in Vermont, macaroni made by the same family business for more than 100 years, and rainbow trout sourced from fresh spring waters. We hand roll our biscuits, make our mashed potatoes from scratch and slow-roast our beef for 18 hours in every store – every day. Our commitment to quality is complemented by a growing focus on local ingredients – because homegrown tastes better – and to keeping our menu fresh and exciting with seasonal choices. And in the products we sell, we seek out trusted artisans and vendors to bring our guests the best quality and unique style for their dollar.
But that’s what’s on the table (and on the shelf). What keeps people coming through our doors year after year is something far deeper. It’s a sense of human connection. The connection between people —to family and friends around the table. Our very roots are all about connection as we began along the Interstate, which had the purpose of connecting people and places. To us, this sense of connection is at the heart of our mission of Pleasing People. While food may nourish the body, we believe that our larger purpose is to nourish the soul.
Pleasing People is not just about setting a great meal in front of our guests, but serving them with warmth. It’s about welcoming guests to sit near our hearth, rekindle connections, and rejuvenate the spirit. It’s about creating a world filled with hospitality and charm. And among us – the people who work at Cracker Barrel – it’s about values like kindness and decency, respect and humility passed down from the start.
Indeed, our people bring our mission to life. We are committed to hiring people who understand what goes into serving others—and once on the job, we provide them with the opportunity to grow their skills and grow with our company. Make no doubt; our people are our greatest asset.
Pleasing People and making guests feel the way they do each time they dine and shop with us requires care and precision. Every detail, no matter how small, is important to making a big and lasting impression. Details like the precise length we trim the wicks of our lamps so they’ll glow just right. The way the peg games on every table are made by the same Tennessee company in just the same way, store by store. The way our 100% pure natural syrup is served warm in an individual glass bottle for every guest. Or the fact that you’ll always find warmth around our fireplace at the first chill of fall. It’s about every little thing. Our emphasis on operational excellence – doing things right, and doing them consistently – coupled with our methodical focus on hiring, training and retaining dedicated people has enabled us to continually expand while maintaining the quality and experience that guests expect.
From the way we carefully source gifts in our stores, to the musical artists we partner with, to the way we make our from-scratch biscuits, every choice in a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is made deliberately so that every guest feels welcomed to enjoy the little extras they won’t find anywhere else. To us, this makes us trusted curators and keepers not just of our brand, but of a distinctly American way of life, where hospitality and charm is provided and preserved.
Our recipe for making your meal a success?
Quite simple, really. It starts with quality food served with care. Offering warm welcomes and friendly service. It takes a dedication to pleasing people and treating our guests and staff like family. Maybe that’s why, for over 45 years, millions of folks have trusted Cracker Barrel as a home-away-from-home where they can get a warm, comforting meal. It’s a trust we take seriously and couldn’t be more grateful for.
And it’s a trust we’ve earned as a homegrown business dedicated to treating our guests to the very best – delicious, hand-prepared fare that’s sourced with love and served with a smile. Learn more