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Published on May 27, 2024
Cracker Barrel CEO Unveils Strategic Revamp to Regain Market Relevancy Amidst Sales SlumpSource: Google Street View

In a landscape where classic eateries struggle to keep the cash registers ringing, Cracker Barrel is firing up a blend of tactical changes to stay in the game. According to a recent report by KVUE, CEO Julie Felss Masino, known for her previous tenure at Taco Bell, cites a loss in market relevancy as a motivator for a sweeping series of updates to the Southern-themed chain.

"We're just not as relevant as we once were," said Masino during a May 16 conference call. Serving as a wake-up call, the CEO's sober reflection comes on the heels of a stagnant sales report and a stock dip of 40% thus far in 2024. With an aim to reconnect with its audience, Cracker Barrel is spicing up its menu with options like green chili cornbread, banana pudding, and even a hashbrown casserole shepherd's pie rolling out in the fall, as detailed by CBS News.

Yet, revamping the menu alone won't cut it. In a multi-prong strategy, Masino is tweaking prices. In some areas, customers may find their favorite comfort food costing a tad more or, conversely, less. "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," Masino stressed in statements obtained by KVUE.

No corner of the classic Cracker Barrel experience is left untouched. While sustaining the company's country essence, adjustments will meet diners such as updated seating and a different color palette. Eyebrows might be raised at the planned reduction of restaurant size by 15% starting fall 2025, but Masino assured us, "our plans will allow us to capitalize on our strengths and deliver long-term success," as she told KVUE. The goal is not just to freshen up the space, but to assure customers that the heart of Cracker Barrel's charm still beats strong beneath the new coat of paint.

Cracker Barrel's blueprint for revival extends beyond the plate and into its old-fashioned country stores, which will be observing a redesign this fall. Expect the venue's layout to shrink somewhat, with a smaller prototype store designed for testing. Masino projected an increase in capital by around $100 million between 2024-2027, indicating a financially fortified future for the 55-year-old chain, with store and restaurant updates forming the spearhead of this corporate renaissance.