Just off the stretch of I-40 that runs between Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee, is a place called Lebanon. Chances are, you haven’t heard of it. But that’s okay because people in Lebanon like it just the way it is: comfortable, friendly, and a great place to come home to. No wonder Dan Evins thought it was the right place to start his small town business that, as it turns out, became anything but small.
While working in the family gasoline business back in the late 1960s, Dan began thinking of ways to better meet the needs of folks on the road. Back then, the interstate system was still young, goods and services were hard to come by, and the rise of fast food started to push out the little places that served up some of the real flavor of America. Fast food might be a good business idea, Dan thought, but it sure wasn't such a hot eating idea. Truth is, Dan always saw mealtime as special – a time to catch up with your family, your friends, and your thoughts. One of Dan’s favorite stories about getting the family together was at the beginning of the suppers he remembered from childhood, his mother would let the family know they could start eating by pointing to the wide variety of country vegetables spread out across the table and saying, “Well, there’s the crop.”
Dan thought about all the things that would make him feel comfortable far from home. Things like big jars of candy and homemade jellies, pot-bellied stoves, people who let you take your time. He thought about simple, honest country food, and a store where you could buy someone a gift that was actually worth having.
What Dan had in mind was the kind of place he'd been to hundreds of times as a boy, something every small community once had. Out west, they called them trading posts; up north, they were general stores. Where Dan grew up, in Middle Tennessee, they were old country stores. Dan figured folks traveling on the new highways might appreciate a comfortable place to stop in for a good meal and unique gifts, many reminiscent of America’s country heritage.
The first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store location opened on September 19, 1969, offering homestyle cooking from recipes, not a mix, and hospitality as warm as the biscuits served. Dan knew quality mattered along with offering prices that were fair and honest, a combination that proved to be a recipe for success, and in 6 short years there were 13 stores from Tennessee to Georgia.
By 1981, Cracker Barrel was growing so the company went public with its stock. That same year, it was cited in Institutions magazine as one of the nation's foremost growth chains, while Money magazine listed the company as one of the top ten stocks in America. Suddenly flush with praise and the loyalty of guests who appreciated homestyle cooking, the company's expansion had even more drive behind it.Between 1980 and 1990, 84 stores opened across the country. By the end of July 1996, there were 257 Cracker Barrel locations. And today, there are more than 600 stores in 42 states, all owned by a company that has no plans for franchising so that we can continue to provide the authentic country comforts that our guests rely on. So even now, the mashed potatoes and biscuits are made from scratch and served with real butter, and the unique items in the gift shop offer genuine value, so Cracker Barrel can continue to uphold Dan’s mission of Pleasing People®.
Call it nostalgia if you want, but the goal isn't simply to recreate a time gone by – it's to honor it. Because the way we see it, the lifestyle of rural America isn't about where you live. It's about how you live.
Since the very first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® opened back in 1969 in Lebanon, Tennessee, we've prided ourselves on keeping things pretty simple.
The way we see it, our mission is to please people. Simple as that.
We try to greet everyone who walks in our front doors with a warm welcome and serve good meals at fair prices. Whether you’re stopping in for our homestyle cooking or stopping by to browse our country store, we want everyone to be treated fairly and with respect. We figure if we take care of our guests, well, then, the business will take care of itself.
And fortunately, so far, it has.
Employment opportunities at Cracker Barrel are open to all qualified applicants solely on the basis of their job-related experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Qualified applicants are considered for all open positions for which they apply and for advancement without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, national origin, age, marital status, the presence of a medical condition or disability, or any other class expressly protected by law. Cracker Barrel complies with all applicable federal, state and local laws with regard to equal employment opportunity. Advancement is based entirely on an individual's demonstrated performance, job-related ability, skills, and knowledge and the resulting potential for promotion to the job openings applied for.
Cracker Barrel will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or retaliation affecting its employees or applicants due to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, medical condition, disability, genetic information, or any other class expressly protected under the law.
Employees who believe they have been subjected to unlawful or unfair discrimination, harassment, or retaliation must immediately advise the Employee Relations Department. Employees must either complete the Cracker Barrel website online complaint form or call toll-free at 1-800-333-9566 to report any perceived violation of Cracker Barrel's policy regarding harassment and discrimination. You also must report any inappropriate conduct that you observe whether or not it affects you directly.
Pleasing People® has been our mission since Cracker Barrel was founded in 1969. It’s a pillar of our organization, and is as important to our employee experience as it is to our guests. Whether you’re serving our guests at one of our Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations, or supporting our staff from our Lebanon, Tennessee headquarters, you will experience what “Pleasing People” means to us - and to you.