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At Cracker Barrel, Waiting for a Table Will Cost You

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When most people think of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (NASDAQ: CBRL  ) , they conjure up images of down home southern cooking. Biscuits and Gravy. Chicken-fried steak. Mashed Potatoes. The furthest thing from one's mind is furniture. Yet that's exactly what Cracker Barrel claims to sell the most of: rocking chairs.

The layout of a typical Cracker Barrel restaurant is ingenious. In the front -- that is, the waiting area -- is a retail store that carries everything from apparel to perishable food items to, you guessed it, the rocking chairs that grace each location's front patio.

A rocking chair for sale at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

By successfully capturing its customers' attention while they wait for a table, Cracker Barrel has leveraged its restaurant franchise into something far more than that. In the most recent quarter, the 625-unit chain derived 20% of its total revenue from retail sales alone.

The power of this setup becomes apparent when you consider that an estimated 215 million people visit Cracker Barrel locations each year. And many of them are traveling -- 40% of them to be precise -- which implies a greater willingness to open up the checkbook and spend freely.

These forces add $2.6 billion in annual revenue to Cracker Barrel's top line, equating to sales per square foot of approximately $400, which is roughly in line with Wal-Mart's productivity, and gross margins of around 50%.

 It's impossible to deny that this has translated into an enormous coup for both Cracker Barrel and its shareholders. Since the beginning of this year, shares in the Tennessee-based restaurant chain have gained 65%, or almost triple that of the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) which is up by only 23% over the same time period.

CBRL Total Return Price Chart

It's worth pointing out as well that Cracker Barrel continues to pay a generous dividend, yielding 2.6% relative to the 1.98% average for the S&P 500. That's a considerable premium for income-seeking investors.

The lesson here is a simple one. Whatever you may think of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, its creativity in appeasing and leveraging its customer base has served both it and its shareholders well over the years.

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Read/Post Comments (79) | Recommend This Article (69)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 10:28 PM, booshaska wrote:

    Well all I can say is if people want to buy a wooden rocking chair. Then be my guest. Personally I have never owned one and I never want one. I'll take my La-Z-Boy rocker recliner anyday over a wooden one thank you very much.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 11:20 PM, jgirl33062 wrote:

    I have always loved Cracker Barrel. The food is uniformly good, and I have actually gone to Cracker Barrel for the purpose of shopping, either for myself, or for gifts. Prices aren't too bad (sales are pretty good) and the quality of what they sell is usually very good.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 11:33 PM, breakBofAnow wrote:

    They need to come to California again, Southern Cal. more specifically Torrance, Ca.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 11:35 PM, nohelmet wrote:

    They ought to line up treadmills.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 11:47 PM, CB1Lover wrote:

    Please CB! Please come to California. There arent any stores in Nevada, and CA which means I have to drive to Kingman or Buckeye to get a good breakfast. I miss the culture CBs in the east provide, its a slice of home (KY) when I travel.

    Looking for those rocking chairs in California!

    Dr. Phil

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:03 AM, LibsREvil26 wrote:

    CB is a nasty and expensive place. Went there one time, the last time I ever set foot inside. People who eat there must suffer from Estrogen and heartaches from their greasy, greasy food.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:14 AM, mike5196 wrote:

    So they sell a lot of rockers to people who are traveling? Do they tie it to the roof of the car and put Granny in it? Must admit I do love the breakfast.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:16 AM, Swordedge wrote:

    I know from asking that behind the scenes, they are fairly high tech. The central office often knows what a store needs before the manager does. For the more rural locations, there is a satellite dish on the roof to make this possible.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:21 AM, suzy wrote:

    The best thing about shopping at Cracker Barrel (and yes, I do shop there specifically now and then) is that what they have is unique for the most part. And is quality. Their food is also good----not top of the line fantastic---but pleanty good and reasonable.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:21 AM, montymonkey9 wrote:

    A lot of great memories at Crackerbarrel in Missoula Montana. Had some great times with my daughter and family there, and the food is great and the staff are as well.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:25 AM, richaboli wrote:

    So Cracker Barell has creative sales ideas. The only people who don't like that are people who believe in communism rather than capitalism.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:50 AM, weward610 wrote:


  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:00 AM, reddwarfone wrote:

    I love Crackel Barrel! One just opened near where I live and the place is always packed. A couple of times, I had to wait up to 30 minutes to get a table but the fabulous food was well worth the wait! Two big thumbs up for a fantastic place to eat at affordable prices!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:00 AM, thedawg60 wrote:

    the Wife and I went to CB the Service and Food was just horrible.Server walked past us twice waited on a couple that was seated after we had cam in grrr.The food was flat azz cold like they had put it in the frig.Oh Hell no,he then came up to ask how it was.Told him get me a over told him the situation.He took care of every thing.Told him i would never return to any CB.that was 6 yrs.ago.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:08 AM, Tommylee2 wrote:

    Pretty darned good marketing I would say. I go there often as they have the best breakfasts around. I enjoy finding some of the old time toys or candies and drinks that you just don't see on store shelves anywhere else. Sure I buy some of them now and then, that's what they are there for right? I have been known to shop for gifts there too, especially Valentine's day stuff.

    Tell you hiow far back we go with them, they used to only have one store in Georgia, way up in the northern part of the state on I-75, and it was a hour and a half drive from our house, but we'd drive up there on a Saturday morning just for breakfast at least once a month. And were we ever tickled when they built one within five miles of our home a few years later. Now we live way out in the boonies and it is 20 miles to one but we still get there now and then. Them biscuits just keep calling me back.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:14 AM, Tommylee2 wrote:

    I see thedawgq60 didn't like CB. Too bad, maybe he was a lousy customer and the waitress had a reason to ignore him. I watch people and see more than a few who deserve worse service than those poor girls give them. Most deserve to be tossed out on their ear, but I see the girls just keep on smiling and trying to make them happy. They'd not want me to be their waiter, not on their life they wouldn't. I have never, in all the years I have eaten in any of them, had bad service or cold food. I've had my eggs overcooked now and then but so what, the wife does that too and i am not going to yell at her either. All I can say is this guy must have earned the disrespect he claims he had.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:19 AM, 0906blue wrote:

    Cracker Barrel is a place to eat and shop. I love them. I have a very sensitive stomach and its one of the few places I can eat and not get sick, wonderful. Good home cooking. I bought to beautiful lamps for my bedroom there. Looked every where the only place that had the ones I wanted. I bought a cookie jar. When my son was a baby I use to buy him red rider sleepers there. As far as their rockers. I love them and they are great quality. I don't believe that travelers buy them. You can't exactly throw a rocker in the back seat or the trunk.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 2:21 AM, DealWithItInc wrote:

    Coming soon to an area by you..."Rocker Barrel"

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 2:41 AM, kq5kq563 wrote:

    I happen to like CB! I don't think their marketing practices are any worse (or better or different) from any other retailer. I've never felt compelled to buy something just because I have to stand and wait a couple of minutes, and the item is in my line of sight. (BTW- the rocking chairs at every CB I've been to are outside, not inside where you MAY have to wait for a table.) At the CB here in Pueblo, we've never had to wait more than a minute or so to be seated. If we had to wait at all, it was because they were busy and the hostess was seating the folks ahead of us! I would rather wait on the CB hostess because she is busy than to wait 15-45 minutes at WM because they are too cheap to open any of the many vacant registers!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 3:31 AM, odom4241 wrote:

    ok skizit; @@@ are they also targeting the retail world of Lowes Home improvement; because I haft to let me friends kno about this.!! also; what does a 'morgellons" insect look like;? can u send me a pic, & or/ a web-site to see it?? where can I see exact picture of gangstalking, radiation and Morgellons.;; so that I may warn others.??? just warning others...

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 3:38 AM, VintageV12 wrote:

    Actually, when I think of Cracker Barrel the first thing that comes to mind is bigotry and discrimination against gays.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 4:32 AM, SWFLORIDA1106 wrote:

    I wouldn't put my behind in a chair at Cracker Barrel,

    if you held a gun to my head...Two reasons:One, the food is awful and it's cooked to burst a person's arteries..Second,the company is a racist,bigoted

    company...Need I say more?Thank you,but not thanks...

    I'm with VintageV12..Spot on...

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 5:09 AM, Rhondatckr wrote:

    Sure, Cracker Barrel's food isn't just fantastic, but it is usually pretty good. I have eaten at several different ones and never been disappointed. But there is a bit more to the story here.

    Several years ago, I was traveling. Specifically to see my mother, who was very close to dying, and did die a week later, at a fairly young age, 51, cancer.

    The Cracker Barrel I stopped at, the wait help seemed to sense something was wrong and kept pushing on the subject. Finally, I told them what was going on. After paying the bill, my husband and me were greeted at the door by several of the waitresses, brandishing a basket with different goodies in it for my mother (free of charge!). I have NEVER seen that kind of compassion in a restaurant before or ever since. Will I be a loyal Cracker Barrel customer? You bet! That was about 20 years ago, and I still think about the kindness of the wait staff there. They have gone very far above and beyond at least in my reckoning. I will continue to eat there as long as I can.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 5:45 AM, IainElliott wrote:

    I like Cracker Barrel and always looked for one when driving across country. But I have yet to set my cap for breakfast and come out with a wooden rocking chair. Sounds sort of brain-dead.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 7:15 AM, Abalone wrote:

    They have grits.

    Employees at the Crapper Barrel, (where I liked to eat at), who had worked there for years, in Grand Rapids,Michigan; Came to work and found themselves locked out, without notice, overnight. The store, which was always very busy, must have gotten a very good offer for the property, as C.B. was demolished, and replaced with a blood place.

    I am boycotting, both.

    Single parents, students, and people just trying to make it, deserve better.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 7:34 AM, Corbuttus wrote:

    LMAO! We have a Cracker Barrel (CB) about 4 min from my house, go there occasionally for breakfast on a Sat or Sun (since the past year), get in before the church crowd, little after 6am. If someone on this board says CB food is horrible, then you obviously don't know good food. All you know is McDonald's or Burger King with their $1 menus of krap items, influenced by a NASA space program. Just like those cheap white sneakers you're wearing from Walmart. That or you work for the pathetic excuse for competition, who are just jealous they didn't think of a working brand and strategy first! Ha! PS: the food and service is ALWAYS great! Why we keep going back. Duh!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 7:35 AM, jojo wrote:

    The food is lousy. I ordered the encrusted fish and was served a greasy, mushy piece of raw fish.Cracker Barrel makes a really bad restaurant look good. YUCK!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 7:36 AM, strifle wrote:

    And this coming from a store that draws with cholesterol drenched, tasteless slop. Amazing.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 7:42 AM, strifle wrote:

    If you like C.B. then you like Denny's.

    You like horrible food.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 7:42 AM, jojo wrote:

    The table cloth was dirty, the dishes, glasses and silverware have soap scum build-up. The overall appearance is dirty looking the few time I visited while on a road trip. Never again! Ever!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 7:58 AM, ViennaVa wrote:

    I used to eat at Cracker Barrel years ago but their menu never changed and the same ole fare just kind of got old.

    I do give them a lot of credit, I think they are the only national franchise that their business model is only to open stores on Interstate exits. I lot of people questioned if that model would work but obviously it has been successful for them.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:07 AM, dcaa74 wrote:

    I ate at Cracker Barrel twice and both times I didn't think the food was good.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:09 AM, czapata wrote:

    Here in Puerto Rico we would like to have a Cracker Barrel We always visit them wen we go to ohio because my wive like very much go there,And we know in comvercecion with the pororicans who has been in crocker barrel they said that they would like to have you here in Puerto Rico.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:12 AM, Paulson545 wrote:

    I don't care about the article just the picture. Looking at the picture of a Cracker Barrel on a clear sunny day makes me jealous, it's 19 degrees here and snowing,

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:15 AM, SpendaLot wrote:

    I used to go to Cracker Barrel at least weekly.

    Spent plenty in the store too.

    Several years back some bean counter figured they'd save a few cents changing chicken filet to a chicken patty.

    I haven't been back.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:16 AM, saucie776 wrote:

    The food is mediocre at best, mostly bagged frozen foods. You can't do that kind of volume and be scratch cooking. gift shop... Overpriced. Sorry all you fans, my opinion, I have been around CB since it began.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:23 AM, Angel461961 wrote:

    Cracker Barrel's motto is down home southern country cooking. I worked there & know for a fact this is not what one would call down home cooking...the only thing I recall Cracker Barrel making from scratch was the biscuits...everything else comes in frozen off the delivery truck including their so called homemade pies...WHAT A JOKE. :{

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:29 AM, ScamuelJones wrote:

    Cracker Barrels are nothing but a bunch of merchanidsing scam artists! We still eat there for the food, but we DO NOT wait, even for five minutes! We go in, request a table, and if they claim there is a wait, then we are out the door and down the road to the next decent restaurant! It works, and we don't buy their overpriced crap and haul it around the country with us. Problem solves! They don't foist their double or triple priced crap on us, we don't get scammed, and we still get to eat there or elsewhere! If they want to take the revenue loss with their tactics, that suits just fine--their loss!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:50 AM, mridenhour wrote:

    This is surely for people who live to eat, not the other way around. The content and preparation of the menu items I'm sure never take into account health outcomes. Look who goes in. No one looks like they just came from a brisk morning jog or a bike ride. They waddle in, fill their gut, and waddle out. And in areas that are still behind the health learning curve, they can finish off their greasy meal with a cigarette outside on the porch. No wonder they sell rocking chairs.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 9:27 AM, RoadRunner71 wrote:

    All CB where I have eaten have had Great Service & Good Food.Especially Breakfast.I enjoy looking at all the old stuff hanging from ceiling, memories.

    Our local CB has spotted silverware.Need to have a water softener for shiny utensils. Noise level is quit loud, carpet on walls would help. Separate Exit from Dinning room to pay counter would cut down on the traffic flow confusion.Gift shop items a bit high in price. Hand Sanitizer in Bathrooms would cut down spread bacteria by Employees. A Tip Tray glued on Table would serve as a good Reminder to Tip Waitresses.

    We like CB that NO Alcohol beverages served.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 11:41 AM, redredrobin2591 wrote:

    Ever go beyond the food? Which by the way the person who said its all homecooked,......better ask your local CB-referrred to around here as the Crack Shack. MOST of their food is not home cooked except at a factory some place. Check their employement records see how many people work there more than a few months at best. Their employees get no breaks (look at their employee handbook) and they fire them left and right. Most of them in the State of Michigan that worked over 28 hrs were fired in the last two weeks of September-first two weeks in October some after 7 or 8 years--they would rather pay penalty rather than provided the requirements of Obama Care. Also ask to see their kitchen sometime. They are sited left and right around this state for health violations, Talk about them making what Walmark makes in profits? Doesn't surprise me, everyone harps on how Walmart treats their customers they need to check the Crack Shack.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 11:42 AM, privacy1 wrote:

    I hate news stories in which the headline is misleading. This is one that does this. It is insulting our intelligence. I disagree with the statement that we are more willing to open our checkbooks when traveling. For me it is the opposite. Especially since when I travel; it feels like everyone is out to charge me for everything that I get free at home. This makes me tighten up my checkbook. Also, who wants to lug around a rocking chair when traveling?

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 11:46 AM, bg1newword wrote:

    my children bought me rockers last year from CB. since they are outside we did not even think they would need to be weather protected. We left them on our front porch all year and now the legs are cracking and pealing.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 11:50 AM, jeepnpokey wrote:

    I love eating at Cracker Barrel.. When Danny owned it, it was much better, but now that the owner of Steak and Shake is trying to take over, things have been changing. No there will not be on in Cali.. It is trade marked out there by another place. I actually have a few of the rockers at my house and all of my family have one.. They are great for the porch.. I have had the good fortune of meeting the man who makes the rockers, very nice guy. Also I have had the good fortune of meeting the bread maker, very nice family. If you like good southern fixins, then you will love this company. Yes, I have had bad service a few times, but for 44 years, I have eaten there atleast once a year, lately many more times. BTW... they don't have table cloths.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:03 PM, SgtOnion wrote:

    Not sure why there are such comments full of venom on here but I have a Cracker Barrell about 5 mins from my house. I use to eat there every Sunday for breakfast. I still generally like the food and their biscuits are always great. Since I don't go on days and times that would be peak time I seldom if ever wait, but I actually leave the table early for a chance to look at the cute range of merchandise they sell. I consider their prices on the high side of average but they have tremendous sales! I go in there sometimes just to shop and not to eat. If you like good food it is a good place to stop on a trip, if you don't have any self control it may not be for you.

    I generally like the place for both eating and shopping and their employees are generally very nice.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:09 PM, countusin2 wrote:

    Cracker Barrel like any restaurant is only as good as the employees working the shift when your there. And of course, like all restaurants they have a huge turn over..

    walking out when your unhappy is how to show you are displeased. they are very good most of the time but no one is perfect. We've even had to walk out of Outback and couple times....

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:17 PM, MarylandGuy wrote:

    Have been to CB a few times, pricey but usually good. Service somewhat slow... Retail folksy but interesting. 4 out of 5 stars.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:18 PM, nobocan wrote:

    Having driven across Country via I-20 and such 8 times now I have often stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are not that different or "Ingenius" as the author states, so I am wonder if this is a paid Advertisement under the guise of being News,,so tired of this phony fakery from the dishonest Media and their Marketing Maggots. Many Truck Stops and such have had this type of marketing for 50 years or more. The typical meal at Cracker barrel is NOT very healthy for you nor is most Truck stop food.. Lots of Cholestrol, bad fats, sugars etc. etc. but many people grew up and died early on the these types of meals. You just have to be careful as with any Resturant chain these days, their biscuits and gravy could be as bad for you as that Hamburger you ate earlier in the day. Moderation in all things is the key. When your on the road as I have been you look for two places to eat..Denny's and Cracker Barrel for two reasons, #1 Clean Bathrooms, #2. Wide assortment of food Choices, and most Denny's are open 24 hours and CB is not. Their menu's are designed for those in the older age group who grew on those meals, they need to redesign it a bit to gather in the younger folks who do not want all that fat, and cholestrol..I'd really enjoy a thinly sliced Roast Beef Salad versus the standard Chicken, cause sometimes the Beef is healtheir for you. Not all chicken is created equal. I dislike the Rockers for one big huge reason, they are uncomfortable especailly is you have back issues. Those rounded stiles making up the backpiece are shear misery and require you buying additional padding or Pads to make the chair comfortable. If you have back issues or arthritis you know exactly what I am talking about. I returned mine two days after getting it home and found a more comfortable, flat backed one at Home Depot...I also do not buy Furniture wood or otherwise that has been sitting out in the weather exposed to the elements and I happen to know CB may have an over stock of these rockers which is why it is mentioned in the fake news story....Amen.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:36 PM, JLynn wrote:

    How is this news? I've never been inside a Cracker Barrel that doesn't have a store. As far as the food, I think it's good but everyone can have a bad experience in any restaurant. And it might not be the kind of food everyone likes. It's all about your taste, preferences and choices. If you browse the store and you want to buy something, buy it. If you don't want to buy anything, then don't. If you want to eat there, fine. If you don't, that's fine too.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:36 PM, josh995 wrote:

    I miss Cracker Barrel. I won't eat there anymore as their policies towards equal rights do not align with my views.

    The food was never the best, but I always left satisfied. Hopefully they will take a look at their policies and change, I will gladly go back.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:37 PM, MissDisplaced wrote:

    Based on the comments, CB reviews seem to be very mixed. Are these franchises? That would explain a lot.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:43 PM, bawillis66 wrote:

    Cracker Barrell is highly over rated. The store items are way over priced. The food is average at best. They treat their employees like pieces of crap. At least the one in Marion Illinois does. There is a manager named Paul that works there, and he likes to intimidate the women and make them cry. He even threatened one. He told her " I will take you down, if it happens again" I

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:53 PM, TheBishop wrote:

    Went there for lunch. Sign said all you can eat for $8.99. Took one bite and that was all I could eat.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:56 PM, KMKC58 wrote:

    We have been to CB many times and always found it very good. However, our experience is limited to the one near us, so it is possible it may be a good location whereas some others are not. However, I noticed that the people who post the dismissive "this place is horrible", "their food is crap" comments never say where they do like to eat or what restaurant chain they do find appealing. Makes me wonder if they are just posters for the competition or if they just get off on posting negatives comments and slamming anyone and everything.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:00 PM, Sexygrammy wrote:

    I've been eating at CB for years . My grandmother introduced us to CB when we were young while traveling. It has and is the one place we eat at when we go out of town which is usually 2 times a year. We enjoy the food and the service ! They recently open one up close to Baltimore and yes we love it! U can get bad food or service anywhere but i never experienced a bad situation at CB !!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:45 PM, Dprince wrote:

    I LOVE Cracker Barrel and look for them specifically when I am traveling. A few years ago, my husband and I were traveling US Interstate 70 on our way from Kansas to Utah, and could not find a Cracker Barrel anywhere on I-70. We were terribly disappointed because that's our favorite stop for food and we almost ALWAYS buy something from the store there when we do. The quality of the items we buy is GOOD and the food is excellent. Those who don't like their food might as well just not even bother to eat ANY southern cooking because you definitely WON'T like it. Their wait people and cashiers are wonderful and they always treat you like family when you're there. I've never experienced a bad situation at Cracker Barrel either. I hope they stay in business a VERY long time!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:49 PM, Izmir621 wrote:

    I TOTALLY LOVE Cracker Barrel! Part of the experience is to go shopping after we eat. They have very nice items at reasonable prices and their displays are always very attractive. As for the food? OMG. I was in Seattle for a looooong time and went through CB withdrawal.....I was almost ready to travel to Boise, the closest CB to Seattle!!! Now I live in TX and can go anytime I want. HEAVEN!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 2:39 PM, lefty7mmstw wrote:

    It would be nice if the negative reviews ( and a few of the positive ones) would get it straight which restaurant they are actually referring to. Cracker Barrel doesn't have tablecloths, nor do they have a buffet. All stores are company owned, and they headquarter in Lebanon, Tennessee where they've been for decades. I've made money on CRBL stock, but don't own any at present. I think I'll wait until a bit of a downturn to put any green in this one.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 2:54 PM, fireballnan wrote:

    We love Cracker Barrel because of the old-fashioned atmosphere and the "down-home" food and products. It's so nice to bring the kids and to enjoy the fun - and the great food, while reading the walls and shopping, too. I go there to find gift items and treats to give and it's especially nice to find things that reflect our love for God, America, and family - rather than the many dark or demonic items found in so many stores.

    Great marketing - but most of all we applaud the stores' values and will continue to give them our business.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 3:37 PM, jadedrose wrote:

    I hate Cracker Barrel. The food is horrible! Everytime we go anywhere with certain family members and there is a Cracker Barrel within 3hrs of our location we always have to make the detour to go there. Blah. This last time we were parked in front of a little local restaurant that smelled heavenly but do you think we could eat there even though it was MY birthday? Nope. 2hrs later we were pulling into Cracker Barrel and needless to say I was not happy from that moment until we got home. And the resulting food poisoning that I got from there did NOT help matters. From now on I'm putting my foot down. If they want to eat there fine but I'll be walking elsewhere even if its a gas station because its 4 week old hotdogs has to taste better.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 3:48 PM, FrostyOne wrote:

    In answer to the person who said gays are treated bad at CB, I don't of course know what your experience was, but I have had 4 of my children work at the CB in Belleville MI and one is gay and they never saw any prejudice on CB's part.???

    And to the one who went on about the cleanliness of the kitchens, my wife, daughter-in-law, daughter, and son have all worked in the above kitchen and my wife's comment after she had worked there a while was she was really impressed how clean they kept the kitchen. She said that they were trained to immediately clean up the are and pots and pans immediately when they finished an operation.

    And to the one who said everything comes premade out of a central kitchen, the info I have from my family is just about everything is scratch cooked, croutons, mashed potatoes, soups, etc. I am sure that they open a few cans here and there, but very little is prepared outside of the restaurant, which is why it is so good. Maybe not the healthiest or easiest on the waistline, but who eats there more than once a month, or even once or twice a year.

    Have eaten at numerous CBs traveling across the states and it was always consistent taste and quality. And service was as good as you can get in a very busy restaurant.

    All you negative people take an inward look at yourself, maybe it just isn't your kind of food and your used to 4 or 5 star restaurants. CB ain't one of those.!!!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 3:59 PM, nmwander wrote:

    Never ceases to amaze me how many of the self-imagined "open-minded" urban crowd spews the hate about Cracker Barrel.

    Oh they love all those trendy restaurants that feature exotic dishes like Ethiopian veggie plates or Cuban Pressed Ham Sandwiches.....

    But exotic redneck food like grits, or country fried steak........good g-d, you;'d think they're about to puke!!

    Lemme help you city-hicks out.

    grits = indian food, in the same category as tortillas.

    country fried steak = german schnitzel.

    Dang, some of you inbred city folk have a hard time dealling with the america thats out there just west of the Hudson River!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 4:00 PM, harley121 wrote:

    Here is yet another example of our liberal news media spinning a story to suit their agenda! They title it so that if you read the title and not the story is seems that Cracker Barrel is charging folks who have elected to wait for a table to free up.

    Why not title the story; "Cracker Barrel, smart moves raise additional income"! Or; Cracker Barrel, a success story in great marketing".

    America,,,,,, the pc and this liberal nit-whittery really NEEDS TO STOP!!!!!!!!!

    And on that note; MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone, and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 4:15 PM, OutOfOrder wrote:

    I noticed the layout of a Cracker Barrel near Bridgeport, Michigan, a few years ago when I visited there with my aunt and uncle and noted to myself how it shrewdly marketed its wares to those waiting to be seated. The food was good, attractive and plentiful but the quality can vary from store to store. The Bridgeport restaurant and store was good, I thought.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 5:51 PM, Bullshipper16 wrote:

    About a month ago I stopped for breakfast, and as I ordered some eggs and whatever, the waitress suggested sourdough toast. I asked her if they had it in whole wheat, yes they did. I can only say as someone who has been around for a long time and have eaten in hundreds of places, it was the best toast ever. I will stop again on my travels and you know what toast I'll have with my eggs.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 11:24 PM, lennysims wrote:

    only up 23% for the s&p. I would leave out only next time john

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 12:11 AM, daeanaira wrote:

    Say what you will about CB. I've had good food there as well as bad. I was a server there years ago and the management made it a miserable experience. However, this writing is a joke. As lennysims mentioned above, 23% is nothing to scoff at.

    Also, the title makes it sound like CB has a toll booth at the front door.

    Lastly, this statement is absurd: "And many of them are traveling -- 40% of them to be precise -- which implies a greater willingness to open up the checkbook and spend freely." As if it's so easy to just toss a full sized wooden rocking chair in the back of the minivan with your kids and luggage on an 8 hour drive to grandma's. Someone here is indeed a fool, and his last name starts with an M and ends with axfield.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 12:24 AM, Ladyrider wrote:

    You people really have issues. If you don't care for a place then fine, it's quite simple. DON'T GO THERE! Sheesh all the comments about high fat and cholesterol. Whatever! I work out 5 days a week, I am 5'4" and 105 - 108 pounds and if I want to eat their food I will. Good lord people GET A LIFE

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 12:42 AM, earthtomom wrote:

    They're making a lot of money selling pseudo-culture items and food. True southerners know better.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 4:32 AM, LechterDiner2 wrote:

    There are enough fair minded businesses around that it's not necessary to patronize homophobia/hate of the kind Cracker Barrel and Maverik Country Stores like to serve-up

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 6:15 AM, ProudNewYorker57 wrote:

    Not a fan. Their food is not healthy and too greasy! Who wants gravy on everything? And the portions are too big; no one needs to eat that much.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 9:23 AM, suzie wrote:

    We love the breakfast,lunch,dinner. We only had one bad meal there but it didn't stop us from coming back. This can happen at any place you eat at.

    We eat a lot at the one in Greenfield, Indiana when we get together for the class reunions or just meeting up with old friends. Yes, we set in the rocking chair just to talk and not take up table space. We have had so many good time there. One time we were on our way to Florida and friends were on there way back and we met up at CB for good old times.

    The only thing I dont' like about the store is the quilts they are made in China, I make quilts and these are not made good and cost is high. A good quilt is well worth the money. I hate to say it these are cheap. I am not buying anything that isn't made in the USA, this my country and I love it, so we need to support it more now then ever.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 10:42 AM, JAKEMAN wrote:

    I go to Cracker Barrel every time we travel in Pennsylvania which they have great food. Besides the restaurant, they have another room which is a store full of toys, gadgets and gifts... genius marketing.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 11:16 AM, MegaMax wrote:

    Reading through the comments, I have to ask. When did The Motley Fool become Yelp? So many good and bad experiences with the food and servers that don't really matter to the stock performance. How about a discussion of the company's growth plans? That dividend is really impressive and 50 percent margins combined with $400 per square foot revenue make this look like a potential acquisition for Walmart. Thoughts?

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 2:58 PM, lefty7mmstw wrote:

    To Megamax....

    I was wondering why everyone thought posting a dining review would help as well. I Thought they were thinking they were on Yelp also until I realized they really don't know the company and are simply chiming in like a young kid that just HAS to say something.

    As far as Cracker Barrel's future performance, they are wage, food cost, and energy/supply cost pressured as is any other dining joint.

    One of the biggest things about Cracker Barrel is when you buy stock you are actually buying something, as they own their stores. You aren't buying into one of the franchise monsters that really own very little because the risk/reward has been pawned off to a franchisee.

    They do have a good amount of imported goods in the retail store, but have you looked at any other retail lately?? At least the rockers are built stateside.

    I can't see Walmart buying CRBL as they don't even want to own the fast food stands in their own stores.

    The best thing I can say about CRBL is they weathered the last recession a lot better than a good amount of their competition.

    The worst thing I can say about them is they are rather stuck in a rut with many things. The new low calorie offerings don't seem to be doing as well as hoped. When you look at the menu though, they have no prominent place; only a small area with little description.

    All in all, I think this pony is going to take a cool drink and let the others catch up a bit, when they should push ahead and leave the others in bankruptcy.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 10:33 PM, MegaMax wrote:

    Thanks Lefty. I like the dividend yield for sure, and appreciate the insight into their past stability. New product lines are always difficult to push forward. The weight watchers menus at Applebees took a few years to get right, so I have patience and can wait for CRBL to tune that offering.

    Re: Walmart, I should have considered the point you made about ownership of an internal food operation.

    Perhaps they fit the Berkshire model, but I really like that they are not a franchise business and have both real estate and operations in the same company.

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2013, at 9:07 AM, bj001 wrote:

    Waiting for a table at Cracker Barrel doesn't cost you any more than window shopping on the strip does. Try "Shop while you wait at Cracker Barrel and make the wait more pleasurable".

    Great food and a great atmosphere. They could not have done it any better.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 8:44 AM, DebinVa59 wrote:

    I eat at Cracker Barrel because my husband likes

    the food and I don't mind the cheese burger on sour dough bread.

    I have purchased a rocking chair, white. Would not buy another, very poorly put together and lasted one winter on the front porch and the rockers literally broke off, along with the paint. I like to look around in the gift shop but I am a woman so most women look at anything for sale.

    I can't believe that someone wrote that Cracker Barrel is not into gays, after what happened to Phil Robertson. I hope we realize that freedom of speech still exists and some people love that family like some people love Cracker Barrel. Keep in mind we should love the person and hate the sin.....I think that is exactly what he was saying. Gays are like anyone else, my opinion is: "Those relationships fail like any other". Love should prevail but there is too much sin......I stand with Phil and Love all people.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 8:46 AM, DebinVa59 wrote:

    Forgot to add, my grandson works there. Like all other restaurants they don't pay enough and he can't get any hours. That is the way things are these days........

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