Combining a restaurant and retail store under one roof is a somewhat novel concept, but the situation along interstate highways has historically helped shield CBRL from suburban-focused rivals such as Brinker's
That's because Cracker Barrel was recently voted "The Most RV-Friendly Sit-Down Restaurant in America," according to its most recent 10-K filing. A loyal following helped it post a 6% sales increase for fiscal 2007, the results of which were announced earlier this week. Restaurant comps improved a modest 0.7%, while retail same-store sales advanced 3.2%.
CBRL recently decided to return to its country roots by selling off the struggling Logan's Roadhouse chain. As a result, full-year results include Logan's results as discontinued operations. The continuing Cracker Barrel business posted a nice 22% increase in diluted earnings per share. Management also projects another double-digit increase for the coming year.
Those expectations are starting to sound tasty, but CBRL hasn't yet convinced me it can return to its heyday of steady sales and earnings expansion. Still, I'll be watching closely to see if Cracker Barrel can become more like Darden
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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.