New CEO Announces Major Changes at Cracker Barrel, $700M Remodel Plan to Make Company ‘More Relevant’

Cracker Barrel, the well-known restaurant and gift store chain famous for its southern country charm and comfort food, is gearing up for big changes as part of a $700 million plan to bring in new customers and stay relevant in a constantly changing market.

The new CEO, Julie Felss Masino, who took over nine months ago, has recognized the need for the company to adapt and evolve to regain its spot as a favorite dining destination.

During a recent investor call, Masino openly addressed the challenges Cracker Barrel is facing, saying, “We’re just not as relevant as we once were.”

She noted that some of the company’s recipes and processes have stayed the same for decades, contributing to a decline in the chain’s appeal, especially among its most loyal customers – those 65 and older.

This group has been slow to come back to Cracker Barrel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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To tackle this decline and bring new life to the brand, Cracker Barrel has started a wide-reaching plan that includes a rebrand and the introduction of new menu items.

The company has begun testing dishes like green chili cornbread, banana pudding, and hash brown casserole shepherd’s pie at select locations, aiming to refresh its offerings while staying true to its southern comfort food roots.

Masino stressed the importance of finding a balance between modernization and keeping the chain’s iconic rustic charm, saying, “The goal, simply put, was to freshen things in such a way as to be noticeable and attractive but still feel like Cracker Barrel.”

Early feedback on these changes has been mostly positive, suggesting that customers are open to the updates.

Along with menu changes, Cracker Barrel is also thinking about adjusting its pricing strategy.

The chain may raise prices at some locations while lowering them at others, in an effort to boost profits and stay competitive.

However, Masino assured investors that the company would not compromise its commitment to giving customers good value.

Despite the ambitious nature of the revitalization plan, management has warned that the full impact of these investments may not be seen until the second half of 2026 and 2027.

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This timeline suggests that the process of revitalizing Cracker Barrel’s image and attracting new customers will be a gradual one, requiring patience and perseverance from both the company and its stakeholders.