What happened 

Shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (NASDAQ:CBRL) dropped 11.2% in 2020, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as restaurants across the country dealt with the pandemic.

It's amazing the performance wasn't worse, and as we begin 2021 there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for restaurant stocks

Closed due to COVID-19 sign at a store.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what 

You can see below how swift the pandemic hit Cracker Barrel's financial performance. Restaurants were shut down across the country in the second quarter, and it took months for them to start getting some of that revenue back. 

CBRL Revenue (Quarterly) Chart

CBRL Revenue (Quarterly) data by YCharts

By year end, Cracker Barrel's business was back to a decent, albeit reduced, level as some locations opened and takeout became more common. And with vaccines now being rolled out in the U.S., there's hope that operations will be back at full steam sometime in 2021. 

Now what 

It's really amazing that the performance of stocks like Cracker Barrel wasn't worse in 2020. Companies like this were forced to shut down and lay off thousands of workers, but survived and could thrive when the economy opened because smaller competitors were forced to shut down. COVID-19 hasn't been good for Cracker Barrel, but long term it could actually help the stock and be a big winner for investors. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.