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Cracker Barrel Just Abruptly Closed 4 Restaurants

The struggling chain called closing the locations a "difficult decision" in a statement.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

Some American diners may have to find a new go-to spot for chicken and dumplings and country-fried steak following the sudden closures of four Cracker Barrel locations.

The southern-themed chain just shuttered two California restaurants located at 1000 Howe Ave. in Sacramento and 905 Betteravia Road in Santa Maria. Several local media outlets reported on the closures earlier this week, though we also confirmed that both locations were marked as "permanently closed" on Google. Cracker Barrel only operated a handful of locations in the Golden State to begin with and is now down to just five units in California, according to its website.

Cracker Barrel has also closed its outposts located at 1445 Center Drive in Medford, Ore., and 253 Forum Drive in Columbia, S.C., KXTV reported. The Medford location was Cracker Barrel's last store in Oregon following the closures of three other restaurants in March 2023. South Carolina still has 23 Cracker Barrel restaurants in operation following the loss of the Columbia store.

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Cracker Barrel restaurant exterior
Kit Leong / Shutterstock

When contacted for comment on the reasons for the closures, Cracker Barrel shared the following statement with Eat This, Not That!:

"As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate the performance of our stores, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our guests and our business," the statement read. "We have made the difficult decision to close four Cracker Barrel locations, including two in California, one in Oregon, and one in the greater Columbia, S.C. area. The decision to close a store is never one we take lightly, and our focus right now is on assisting our impacted employees during this transition."

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"We extend our sincere thanks to our employees who worked so hard to keep our fireplace glowing and to the guests who have dined with us, celebrated with us, and made us part of their community," the statement continued. "We look forward to reconnecting with them at other times at nearby Cracker Barrels in the future."

The chain had 662 company-owned restaurants in operation as of Jan. 26, when its latest quarter ended. The company expects to open two new Cracker Barrel locations during the 2024 fiscal year and nine to 11 new outposts for Maple Street Biscuit Company, a chain it acquired in 2019.

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The news of the closures comes at a time when Cracker Barrel is struggling to bring customers into its restaurants. The company has been reporting declines in guest traffic for over a year, including a 4% decline in its most recent quarter. Cracker Barrel executives have attributed the drops to factors like insufficient marketing, room for improvement in the guest experience, and budget-conscious consumers cutting back on eating out.

But during a February earnings call, they detailed several efforts that are underway to reverse the trend. These initiatives include testing changes to the interior design of its restaurants, the rollout of its new loyalty program last year, and the debut of a new early dinner menu with smaller versions of seven entrées that Cracker Barrel hopes will draw in more "price-conscious" guests, according to Masino.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe