Cracker Barrel to Remove 20+ Items From the Menu, Revamp Stores in an Attempt to Reverse Falling Profits

Cracker Barrel CEO Julie Fels Massino spills the beans on the current state of the beloved Southern-style restaurant.
The iconic Cracker Barrel sign
The iconic Cracker Barrel sign / SOPA Images/GettyImages

When thinking of major Southern comfort chains, the first one that comes to mind for most is Cracker Barrel. The Tennessee-based restaurant chain has been a popular destination for millions since its inception in 1969. However, as the industry continues to change, there's always the possibility of being behind the curve -- and that's exactly what Cracker Barrel is dealing with thanks to a broad plan that will renovate stores and remove at least 20 items from the menu.

The reality of the changing times has crossed the mind of Cracker Barrel CEO Julie Fels Massino after seeing the falling stock price and the significant decline in traffic over the last decade. 

"We're just not as relevant as we once were," Massino said during a call with investors. "Some of our recipes haven't evolved in decades."

Massino, who was the President of Taco Bell before her Cracker Barrel stint began in 2023, seeks to ignite change. She has come up with a transformative plan that features five goals for the company in the near future:

  • Redefining the brand: Coming up with ways to get young people to visit the restaurant while also keeping the older crowd.
  • Enhancing the menu: Removing at least 20 current menu options and coming up with better-tasting items to lure in more customers.
  • Evolving the store and guest experiences: Improving its store design while remodeling 25-30 stores during fiscal 2025.
  • Winning in digital: Focusing on enhancing Cracker Barrel rewards and better understanding consumer behavior.
  • Elevating employee experience: Upgrading training and development tools to enhance the employee experience.

All in all, this seems like it will be a much-needed push to get the chain back on its feet. Recently, when I visited a location, I felt as though I was in the '80s or '90s -- and not in a fun, nostalgic way. While a dose of classic flare is beneficial for a local dinner or restaurant, it might not be as successful for a chain competing with some heavy hitters in its category.

Does Cracker Barrel need a reboot? Have you noticed any differences in your experiences at the restaurant in recent years?

Next. Cracker Barrel breakfast menu: Menu items, when available, and more (May 2024). Cracker Barrel breakfast menu: Menu items, when available, and more (May 2024). dark