Cracker Barrel

From Academic Kids

This article is about the American restaurant-and-store chain. For the unrelated company marketing cheeses bearing the "Cracker Barrel" trademark, see Kraft Foods, Inc.. The operator of a chain of Louisiana convenience stores, Cracker Barrel Stores, Inc., is also unrelated.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., is a chain of 510 "Old Country Stores" as of 2004, each combining a store and a restaurant. The chain serves traditionally Southern food staples, and their outlets have traditionally been located along interstate highways, though the company policy on this appears to be changing.

Corporate overview

Cracker Barrel opened its first branch in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1969, and the corporation is still based there. Cracker Barrel operates in forty-one U.S. states, namely the lower 48 with the exceptions of California, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. Net sales for 2003 were US$1.9 billion. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBRL Group, Inc.[1] (http://www.cbrl.com/)

Public relations

Early in the 2000s Cracker Barrel faced accusations including a pattern of racial discrimination in its treatment of customers. After national press attention to these accusations, the company announced explicit policies intended to address the charges, and the most prominent critics have not repeated their criticisms. Stores now display a sign in their front foyer clariying this policy, as has become the policy after a similar incident involving Denny's restaurants.

In 1991, Cracker Barrel instituted a policy requiring employees to display "normal heterosexual values which have been the foundation of families in our society." The company refused to change their policy in the face of protest demonstrations by gay rights groups, but in 2002, the company's stockholders voted to rescind the practice after ten years of efforts by the New York City Employees Retirement System, a major shareholder.

Cracker Barrel is one of eight companies indicted and accused of making illegal campaign contributions to the Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee, started by Tom DeLay.

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