Our Mission Pleasing People

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.

Our Story

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 640 stores in 43 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.

Diversity & Inclusion

Leveraging the Power of Diversity

At Cracker Barrel Old Country Store we believe our tradition of diversity and inclusion is a key ingredient to our success. It strengthens how we serve our employees, guests, and the communities we're fortunate to be a part of.

As we grow with the diversity and change around us, our sincere efforts to respect, value, and represent all the unique differences that make everyone unique becomes more and more important. At Cracker Barrel, diversity isn’t a program, initiative, or strategy but something that's baked deep into our culture.

Today, as we work to be the company of choice for our employees, our guests, and our suppliers, we invite everyone to share in our journey.

Because here, no matter who you are, you're always welcome.


Everyday, we do everything we can to build the diversity of our workforce with an inclusive environment that gives everyone the opportunity to find personal and professional success.

Supplier Diversity

Our supplier diversity program connects us with a diverse range of suppliers that meet our objectives for cost and quality.

Diversity and Inclusion in Action

We believe our differences make us stronger across the workplace, marketplace, and community. It is a journey embarked upon by everyone in our company.