Cracker Barrel to make significant changes in the coming year – CEO says ‘We’re just not as relevant’

The next time you step into a Cracker Barrel restaurant, things might look and taste a little different.

“We’re just not as relevant as we once were,” Cracker Barrel’s new CEO Julie Felss Masino said during a recent conference call about upcoming changes to the 55-year-old chain.

In order to refresh the brand, Masino said the company has been testing nearly two dozen new menu items in hopes of making the restaurant “more relevant to guests.”

The chain has been testing green chili cornbread, banana pudding, and more in 10 of its locations. Customer feedback has helped the chain pick which items will make their debut at the majority of the chain’s 660 locations.

Hashbrown casserole shepherd’s pie, premium savory chicken and rice, and slow-braised pot roast are slated to be added to Cracker Barrel’s menu later this year.

James R Poston / Shutterstock.com

The company also plans to make some changes to its pricing, and depending where you live it may be a good thing or a bad thing.

“We have stores in metro areas with an average annual household income of $55,000 in the same pricing tier as one with $90,000,” Masino said.

“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.”

Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Not only will customers see a difference in the food, but their overall experience will change as well.

Masino said the chain plans to launch a remodel involving “a different color palette, updating lighting, offering more comfortable seating and simplifying decor and fixtures.”

They also plan to open several new locations in fall 2025 with a smaller footprint.

“Historically, Cracker Barrel has made limited changes to our design aesthetic, and we’ve probably relied a little too much on what was perceived to be the timeless nature of our concept.”

What do you think about the changes coming to Cracker Barrel? Is it time or should things be left as is?

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