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Cracker Barrel to Sell Ham, Bacon in Grocery Stores

Cracker Barrel to Sell Ham, Bacon in Grocery Stores


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So you can have your country ham, bacon, and other Cracker Barrel-y foods all at home

Southern expats (or you know, those living beyond the reaches of the Cracker Barrel kingdom) might be able to get their biscuits, grits, and country ham fixes at home sometime soon, maybe even on the West Coast.

Business Wire reports that Cracker Barrel has teamed up with the John Morrell Food Group (of Smithfield) to create a Cracker Barrel product line, so avid fans can recreate "the Cracker Barrel experience" with items like "ham, bacon, assorted lunch meats, glazes, jerky, and summer sausage."

No word on whether the product line will include their biscuits and grits, or the kitschy home décor items that grace the walls of Cracker Barrels everywhere, but if this means we can recreate their chicken and dumplings, it might be worth a shot? Now if only all the candies they sell at the retail store, plus all those rocking chairs, can be found at our local grocery stores as well...


Cracker Barrel Products Blocked In Kraft Trademark Row

Law360, San Francisco (July 1, 2013, 5:28 PM EDT) -- Kraft Foods Group Inc. won a preliminary injunction in Illinois federal court Monday, blocking Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. from making, marketing or selling its grocery store products while Kraft's trademark-infringement suit against the restaurant chain and food retailer is pending.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman granted the injunction, finding that Kraft had shown that its 1957 registration of the "Cracker Barrel" trademark gave the company a chance of succeeding in its trademark case, and that consumers were likely to be confused by the presence of both brands in grocery stores, according to his ruling.

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12 Things You Didn't Know About Cracker Barrel

We recommend pondering these fun facts over a Chicken n' Dumplins platter.

Even if you're a die-hard fan of the Tennessee-based restaurant chain, we're willing to bet at least a few of these tidbits will surprise you.

The first Cracker Barrel location was opened off Interstate 40 in Lebanon, Tennessee in 1969 by a man named Dan Evins. Back then, even the cornbread was made from scratch, a practice that is still going strong today. (Unrelated fun fact: Lebanon is also where we hold the Country Living Fair in Tennessee!)

When Evins opened the first Cracker Barrel, he was working for his grandfather's gasoline business. Back in the late '60s, the interstate road system was still in its nascent stages, and Evins wanted to find a way to better service the needs of drivers, while also expanding his family's oil business. He thought a down-home country store inspired by the ones he'd visited as a boy in Tennessee would be more enticing to homesick travelers than fast-food restaurants.

More Cracker Barrel locations were opened throughout the early '70s, all of which included gas pumps, but when the oil embargo of the mid-seventies hit, new locations were built without pumps. These days, Cracker Barrel is no longer in the fuel game&mdashhowever, 32 current stores do have electric vehicle charging stations.

All of those tools, signs, photographs and toys that decorate the walls of your local Cracker Barrel? They're all authentic vintage items&mdashno reproductions allowed. Back when the first Cracker Barrel opened, founder Dan Evins asked Don and Kathleen Singleton, a couple who ran a local antiques store, to help him decorate the space in the style of an old country store. Today, the couple's son, Larry Singleton, is still in charge of finding unique regional artifacts for new restaurant locations. In fact, Larry runs an entire decor warehouse filled with over 90,000 artifacts at the company's headquarters in Tennessee, where his team restores and archives every fabulous antique item that he purchases.

In the early years, Don and Kathleen would store their vintage finds in Larry's grandparents' bedroom. Now, Larry says he loves visiting the old Cracker Barrel stores that his parents decorated, like Stewarts Ferry Pike in Nashville. Today, he gets a lot of calls from dealers asking to buy various antiques from the stores, but he always says no.

Each restaurant features unique local finds that reflect the community's history, every Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has an ox yoke and a horseshoe hanging over the front door, a traffic light over the restrooms, a deer head over the mantel, and a cookstove used as a display in the retail sections. (CB currently owns 783 cookstoves!)

To keep up with the dusting, Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores are staffed around the clock. When the store closes, a staff comes in to clean and dust everything.

Cracker Barrel restaurants also serve 151 million eggs, 121 million slice of bacon, 56 million pancakes, 37 million portion of grits, 13 million pounds of chicken tenders, and over 4 million Moon Pies annually.

American country stores in the late 19th century stocked barrels of soda crackers, which customers would often gather around to chat and socialize (think of them as the water coolers of their day). The term "cracker-barrel" eventually came to refer to the simple, rustic informality and straightforwardness that was characteristic of these conversations and the country stores they took place in.

Have you ever wondered if the Cracker Barrel cheese you see at your local grocery store is affiliated with Cracker Barrel restaurants? It's not. In fact, Kraft Foods&mdashwhich has sold cheese under the Cracker Barrel label since 1954&mdashfiled a trademark infringement lawsuit against the restaurant chain in 2013 when it licensed its name to a division of Smithfield Foods for a line of meat products to be sold in grocery stores. While the line did not sell any cheeses, Kraft was concerned that customers would get confused by the two similarly named brands. Today, bacon, hams, deli meats, baking mixes and more are available at grocery stores under the CB Old Country Store&trade brand to avoid confusion.

Cracker Barrel often partners with some of the biggest names in country music to release exclusive albums that can be purchased at its Old Country Stores and on its website. In addition to working with singers like Alabama and Alan Jackson, the chain teamed up with the one-and-only Dolly Parton to release a two-disc album titled An Evening with. Dolly Live in 2012, which went on to be certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Cracker Barrel also released Dolly's Backwoods Barbie Collector's Edition disc in 2008.

Over 10 million peg games have been made exclusively for Cracker Barrel stores. And everyone who has ever been to a Cracker Barrel knows that playing the peg game found on every table is the best way to pass the time while waiting for your food to show up. Thanks to this genius tutorial, now you can impress your friends and family by solving the game in three simple moves.


Judge blocks Cracker Barrel from grocers

LEBANON, Tenn. — A federal judge in Chicago has temporarily blocked Cracker Barrel Old Country Store from selling branded meats and other food items in grocery stores.

The lawyers of the restaurant chain based here indicated they plan to appeal U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman's ruling issued Monday.

Cracker Barrel (CBRL) was seeking to broaden its portfolio of packaged food items — mainly hams and other meats — and start selling them through supermarkets, club stores and other retailers. Grocery sales are part of Cracker Barrel's strategy to expand its brand beyond its 600-plus restaurants and stores. The chain has signed a licensing agreement with John Morrell & Co. for ham, bacon and other meats.

But food giant Kraft Foods (KRFT) is suing to block the move, saying it would infringe on Kraft's trademarked Cracker Barrel brand cheese and confuse consumers.

In his eight-page ruling, Gettleman agreed and said Kraft had a strong case.

"The court finds that Kraft is likely to prevail on the merits of its trademark infringement and unfair competition claims," the order said. "Kraft need only show a 'better than negligible' chance of success on the merits, and has more than sufficiently carried this burden."

Gettleman said Kraft's trademark was "indisputably strong" because it has been in use since 1957, more than a decade before the first Cracker Barrel restaurant opened in 1969, and generates more than $130 million in annual sales.

Selling products that are complementary to and in close proximity to Kraft's cheese brand would dilute it and cause "significant" harm, the judge said. In doing so, he rejected Cracker Barrel's argument that the distance between grocers' dairy cases and meat sections would reduce consumer confusion.

"A consumer who views the Kraft mark briefly in the dairy section of the grocery store and subsequently views the CBOCS mark in the deli or meat section of the same store may not distinguish between the two brands," he wrote. "The similarity of the marks will likely contribute to confusion."

&ldquoThe court finds that Kraft is likely to prevail on the merits of its trademark infringement and unfair competition claims.&rdquo

Judge Robert Gettleman, U.S. District in Chicago

Gettleman also put more credence on a survey from Kraft's market research expert, which said 1 in 4 people shown pictures of Cracker Barrel's ham during an online survey wrongly thought its manufacturer also makes cheese. Cracker Barrel's expert said the confusion rate was closer to 7%, based on his poll of shoppers at malls in nine states.

"The (Kraft) survey was appropriately conducted on a national scale (defendant's intended distribution area), utilized sound methodology and produced credible results," Gettleman said. "The court is not convinced that the survey conducted by defendants' expert, Phillip Johnson, appropriately measured potential confusion because it was conducted primarily in areas with heavy CBOCS presence."

The confusion rate is key because of the so-called 15% rule. Courts typically have sided with trademark owners who can show, usually through surveys, that at least 15% of consumers would be confused.

After issuing his ruling, Gettleman denied Cracker Barrel's request to stay the injunction while the chain appeals. However, he verbally ordered Kraft to post a $5 million injunction bond — more than the $1 million he initially wrote in his written ruling — by July 8 when another status conference is scheduled.

In a statement, Cracker Barrel said it and John Morell "are understandably disappointed" with the ruling.

"While we respect the court's ruling, we will explore all of our legal options, including a possible appeal of the preliminary injunction," the statement said. "We continue to stand firm in our belief of the merits of our case. We are convinced the marketplace understands and recognizes the differences in the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store brand and Kraft's Cracker Barrel cheese. We are not selling cheese or any cheese-related products."


Contents

First location and early company history Edit

Cracker Barrel was founded in 1969 by Dan Evins, a sales representative for Shell Oil, who developed the restaurant and gift store concept initially as a plan to improve gasoline sales. [10] Designed to resemble the traditional country store that he remembered from his childhood, with a name chosen to give it a Southern country theme, [11] Cracker Barrel was intended to attract the interest of highway travelers. [10] The first restaurant was built close to Interstate 40, in Lebanon, Tennessee. [12] It opened in September 1969, [13] serving Southern cuisine including biscuits, grits, country ham, and turnip greens. [12]

Evins incorporated Cracker Barrel in February 1970, [10] and soon opened more locations. In the early 1970s, the firm leased land on gasoline station sites near interstate highways to build restaurants. [11] These early locations all featured gas pumps on-site during gasoline shortages in the mid to late 1970s, the firm began to build restaurants without pumps. [10] Into the early 1980s, the company reduced the number of gas stations on-site, eventually phasing them out altogether as the company focused on its restaurant and gift sales revenues. [13] Cracker Barrel became a publicly traded company in 1981 to raise funds for further expansion. [10] [12] It floated more than half a million shares, raising $4.6 million. [11] Following the initial public offering, Cracker Barrel grew at a rate of around 20 percent per year [14] by 1987, the company had become a chain of more than 50 units in eight states, with annual net sales of almost $81 million. [10]

New markets and refocus Edit

The company grew consistently through the 1980s and 1990s, attaining a $1 billion market value by 1992. [12] [15] [16] In 1993, the chain's revenue was nearly twice that of any other family restaurant. [11]

In 1994, the chain tested a carry-out-only store, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Corner Market, in suburban residential neighborhoods. [16] In addition, it expanded into new markets through the establishment of more traditional Cracker Barrel locations, the majority of them outside the South, and tested alterations to its menus to adapt to new regions. [17] The chain added regional dishes to its menus, including eggs and salsa in Texas and Reuben sandwiches in New York, but continued to offer its original menu items in all restaurants. [15]

By September 1997, Cracker Barrel had 314 restaurants, and aimed to increase the number of stores by approximately 50 per year over the following five years. [17] The firm closed its Corner Market operations in 1997 and refocused on its restaurant and gift store locations. The company's president, Ron Magruder, stated that the chain was concentrating on strengthening its core theme, offering traditional foods and retail in a country store setting, with good service and country music. [14] The chain opened its first restaurant and gift store not located near a highway in 1998, in Dothan, Alabama. [18] In the 2000s, in the wake of incidents including charges of racial discrimination and controversy over its policy of firing gay employees, the firm launched a series of promotional activities including a nationwide book drive and a sweepstakes with trips to the Country Music Association Awards and rocking chairs among the prizes. [19] The company has since begun expansion to the West Coast: in 2017, their first store in the region opened in Tualatin, Oregon, [20] and their first store in California was opened the next year in Victorville. [21]

In 2019 Cracker Barrel purchased Maple Street Biscuit Company for $36 million cash. [22]

Operations Edit

The number of combined restaurants and stores owned by Cracker Barrel increased between 1997 and 2000, to more than 420 locations. In 2000 and 2001, the company addressed staffing and infrastructure issues related to this rapid growth by implementing a more rigorous recruitment strategy and introducing new technology, including an order-placement system. [23] From the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, the company focused on opening new locations in residential areas to attract local residents and workers as customers. [18] It updated its marketing in 2006 to encourage new customers, changing the design of its highway billboard advertisements to include images of menu items. Previously the signs had featured only the company's logo. [24] By 2011, Cracker Barrel had opened more than 600 restaurants in 42 states. [25] [26] [27] On January 17, 2012, company founder Dan Evins died of bladder cancer. [28]

Food and gift shop Edit

As a Southern-themed chain, Cracker Barrel serves traditional Southern comfort food often described as "down-home" country cooking and sells gift items including simple toys representative of the 1950s and 1960s, toy vehicles, puzzles, and woodcrafts. Also sold are country music CDs, DVDs of early classic television, cookbooks, baking mixes, kitchen novelty decor, and early classic brands of candy and snack foods. [29] [30] Breakfast is served all day, and there are two menus: one for breakfast, the other for lunch and dinner. Since the first restaurant opened, the menu has featured Southern specialties, including biscuits, fried chicken, and catfish [10] seasonal and regional menu items were added during the 1980s and 1990s. [10] [17] In 2007, Cracker Barrel announced plans to remove artificial trans fats from its menu items. [31] [32]

Locations, service, and decor Edit

For much of its early history, Cracker Barrel decided to locate its restaurants along the Interstate Highway System, [10] and the majority of its restaurants remain close to interstate and other highways. [33] [34] [35] Cracker Barrel is known for the loyalty of its customers, [15] particularly travelers who are likely to spend more at restaurants than locals. [17]

The locations are themed around the idea of a traditional Southern U.S. general store. Items used to decorate each store are authentic artifacts, [12] including everyday objects from the early 1900s and after. [36] Each location features a front porch lined with wooden rocking chairs, a wooden peg solitaire game on every table, [37] and a stone fireplace with a deer head displayed above the mantel. [38] In fact, each location has five common items: a shotgun, a cookstove, a deer head, a telephone, and a traffic light. [39] The peg games have been present in Cracker Barrel since the opening of the first store, and continue to be produced by the same family in Lebanon, Tennessee. [40] The decor at each location typically includes artifacts related to the local history of the area, including antique household tools, old wall calendars and advertising posters, and antique photographs [34] these are centrally stored in a warehouse in Tennessee, where they are cataloged and stockpiled for future use by individual store locations. [41]

Awards Edit

Destinations magazine has presented the chain with awards for best chain restaurant, [42] and in 2010 and 2011, the Zagat survey named it the "Best Breakfast". [43] [44] The chain was selected by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America as the 2011 OBIE Hall of Fame Award recipient for its long-standing use of outdoor advertising. [45] It was also named the "Best Family Dining" restaurant by a nationwide "Choice in Chains" consumer poll in Restaurants & Institutions magazine for 19 consecutive years. [38]

Senior leadership Edit

Name Position(s) Note(s) References
Sandra B. Cochran President and chief executive officer CEO of Cracker Barrel [46]
Doug Couvillion Senior Vice President SVP, Sourcing and Supply Chain [46]
Laura Daily Senior Vice President SVP, Retail [46]
Jill Golder Senior vice president and chief financial officer Chief financial officer of Cracker Barrel [46]
Michael Hackney Senior Vice President SVP, Restaurant and Retail Operations [46]
Richard Wolfson Senior Vice President, general counsel, and corporate secretary General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Cracker Barrel [46]

Leaders of subsidiaries Edit

Name Position(s) Note(s) References
Scott Moore Chief Executive Officer CEO of Maple Street Biscuit Company [47]
Michael Chissler President and COO President and chief operating officer of Holler and Dash [48]

Board of directors Edit

The company is run by a board of directors made up of mostly company outsiders, as is customary for publicly traded companies. Board members are elected every year at the annual shareholders' meeting using a majority vote system. There are five committees within the board which oversee specific matters. These committees include the audit committee, which handles accounting issues with the company including auditing and reporting the Compensation Committee, which approves compensation for the CEO and other employees of the company the Governance and Nominating Committee, which handles various corporate matters including nomination of the board the executive committee, whose chairperson is ex officio the chairman of the board and the Public Responsibility Committee, which works to ensure the company remains compliant with all local, state, and federal laws, in addition to ensuring the company remains neutral in American politics. [49]

On 10 July 2020, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store reported that, effective instantly, Gilbert Dávila was named to the board of directors of the company. Mr. Dávila is the founder and CEO of DMI Consulting – a major international communications, diversity & inclusion and innovation company in the United States, primarily helping Fortune 200 businesses to build competitive development strategies based on America's fastest expanding population / segment. [50]

Investment and business model Edit

Cracker Barrel restaurants are aimed at the family and casual dining market as well as retail sales. [14] The chain also advertises to people traveling on the interstate highways, as the majority of its locations are close to highway exits. [16] The company has promoted its cost controls to investors. [51] [52] The company has stated its goals are to keep employee turnover low and to provide better trained staff. [52] Since the 1980s, the firm has offered a formal training program with benefits for progressing through it to all of its employees. [10] [53]

Community involvement Edit

Cracker Barrel has supported a wide range of charities through one-off donations, promotional events, and partnerships with charitable organizations. [54] The chain has supported charities and causes in communities where its restaurants are located, including the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 [55] and Nashville after severe flooding in 2010. In the same year, Cracker Barrel established Cracker Barrel Cares Inc., an employee-funded non-profit organization that provides support to Cracker Barrel employees. [56] Cracker Barrel has also formed a partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity for injured veterans. [57] In attempts to rebuild its image after several race-related controversies, [58] the firm has provided a scholarship through the National Black MBA Association, [59] and job skills programs and sponsorships with 100 Black Men of America [58] [60] and the Restaurant and Lodging Association. [61]

Cracker Barrel sponsored the NASCAR Atlanta 500 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway from 1999 to 2001 [62] and the Grand Ole Opry from 2004 to 2009. The company was the first presenting sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry. [63] This sponsorship allowed the company to make connections within the Nashville music industry, following which it entered into partnership with a number of country music performers. [64] The chain has established partnerships with artists including Alison Krauss, Charlie Daniels, Josh Turner, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, and Alabama, to offer CD releases and merchandise. [64] [65] [66]

In 1997, the company purchased the Mitchell House in Lebanon, Tennessee. The house had been the elementary dormitory and school for Castle Heights Military Academy which both Dan Evins and his son attended. The school had closed in 1986 and the building had sat empty since then. Cracker Barrel spent two million dollars to restore the home and used it as its corporate headquarters from 1999 to 2013. [67] [68]

Conflict with Biglari Holdings Edit

The board of directors of Cracker Barrel has repeatedly been at odds with the largest shareholder, Biglari Holdings Inc. [69] The owner of Biglari Holdings, Sardar Biglari, controls a 19.9% share of the company, [70] just short of the 20% needed to trigger a shareholder rights plan, more commonly termed a "poison pill". [71] The poison pill was adopted after Biglari Holdings sought approval to purchase a 49.99% share of the company and join the board of directors. [71] Sardar Biglari made another attempt to join Cracker Barrel's board in 2020, which shareholders rejected. At the time, he reportedly controlled approximately 8.7% of the company. [72]

Biglari Holdings purchased shares of Cracker Barrel in 2011, and has often been critical of the transparency to shareholders, overspending on advertising, lack of customer value, [73] capital funds mismanagement, [74] and not maximizing shareholder value. [75] As of 2020, Biglari had made five attempts to join the board as a candidate himself or by proxy. [76] Each attempt has been denied by a shareholder vote. Biglari Holdings has also put forward a request for a one-time $20/share dividend to address perceived overly conservative capitalization, [75] which was also rejected by shareholders. [74] Cracker Barrel has responded by claiming Biglari has a "hidden agenda" and a conflict of interest by holding shares in other restaurant chains such as Steak 'n Shake. [77] [78]

LGBT policies Edit

In early 1991, an intra-company memo called for employees to be dismissed if they did not display "normal heterosexual values". According to news reports, at least 11 employees were fired under the policy on a store-by-store basis from locations in Georgia and other states. [11] [17] After demonstrations by gay rights groups, the company ended its policy in March 1991 and stated it would not discriminate based on sexual orientation. [79] [80] The company's founder, Dan Evins, subsequently described the policy as a mistake. [11] From 1992 onward, [81] the New York City Employees Retirement System, then a major shareholder, put forward proposals to add sexual orientation to the company's non-discrimination policy. An early proposal in 1993 was defeated, with 77 percent against and only 14 percent in support, along with 9 percent abstaining. [82] It was not until 2002 that the proposals were successful 58 percent of company shareholders voted in favor of the addition. [79]

Cracker Barrel achieved the lowest score (15 out of 100) of all rated food and beverage companies in the Human Rights Campaign's 2008 Corporate Equality Index, a measure of LGBT workplace equality. [83] Their score for 2011 had increased to a 55. The 2011 survey noted that the firm had established a non-discrimination policy and had introduced diversity training that included training related to sexual orientation. [84] However, the company's score for 2013 dropped to a 35 out of 100, not having obtained the points related to non-discrimination toward gender identity and health benefits for partners of LGBT employees and transgender-inclusive benefits. [85] In 2019, Cracker Barrel earned a score of 80 on the index, and maintained that score in the 2020 and 2021 reports. [86] [87] [88]

On December 20, 2013, Cracker Barrel announced it would no longer sell certain Duck Dynasty products which it was "concerned might offend some of [its] guests" [89] after Phil Robertson, a star of the reality TV show, remarked in a GQ interview: [90]

Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right.

Robertson also made "comments likening homosexuality to terrorism and bestiality" in the interview, and expressed views about race which attracted criticism. On December 22, less than two days after pulling the products from its shelves, Cracker Barrel reversed its position after protests from customers. [91] [92] [93]

In 2019, however the restaurant took a pro-LGBT stance when it stated that it would not permit Grayson Fritts, a Knox County, Tenn. cop and pastor at All Scripture Baptist Church who has called for the execution of LGBTQ people, to hold an event in one of its restaurants. [94] [95]

Race- and gender-based discrimination lawsuits Edit

In July 1999, a discrimination lawsuit was filed against Cracker Barrel by a group of former employees, who claimed that the company had discriminated against them on the grounds of race. [96] [97] In December 2001, twenty-one of the restaurant's customers, represented by the same attorneys, filed a separate lawsuit, alleging racial discrimination in its treatment of guests. [98] [99] [100] Regarding both accusations, Cracker Barrel officials disputed the claims and stated that the company was committed to fair treatment of its employees and customers. [97] [99] [101]

In 2004, an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department found evidence that Cracker Barrel had been segregating customer seating by race seating or serving white customers before seating or serving black customers providing inferior service to black customers, and allowing white servers to refuse to serve black customers. [102] The Justice Department determined that the firm had violated Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The company was required to sign a five-year agreement to introduce "effective nondiscrimination policies and procedures." The terms included new equal opportunity training the creation of a new system to log, investigate, and resolve complaints of discrimination and the publicizing of its non-discrimination policies. They were required to hire an outside auditor to ensure compliance with the terms of the settlement. [103]

In 2006, Cracker Barrel paid a $2 million settlement to end a lawsuit alleging race and sexual harassment at three Illinois restaurants. [104] [105] Cracker Barrel stores subsequently began displaying a sign in the front foyer explaining the company's non-discrimination policy, [102] and added to its website and menu the policy and details on how to make a complaint. [106]

Since the early 2000s, Cracker Barrel has provided training and resources to minority employees to improve its image on diversity. These efforts involved outreach to minority employees, along with testing a training plan to help employees whose first language is Spanish to learn English. [58] By 2002, minorities made up 23 percent of the company's employees, including over 11 percent of its management and executives. [59]

Cracker Barrel is on the Corporate Advisory Board for the Texas Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), [107] and is a corporate sponsor of the NAACP Leadership 500 Summit. [108] The company has been praised for its gender diversity, particularly on its board of directors, which includes three women out of eleven total board members. [109] Its chief executive officer (CEO), Sandra Cochran, is the second woman in Tennessee to hold that office in a publicly traded company. [109]

Kraft Foods vs. Cracker Barrel Edit

In November 2012, Cracker Barrel licensed its name to Smithfield Foods' John Morrell Division in a deal to create a line of meat products to be sold in supermarkets and through other retail channels. In response, Kraft Foods filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit in February 2013. Kraft has sold cheese in retail stores under their Cracker Barrel brand since 1954. The corporation said that Cracker Barrel stores have not made significant sales of retail food products beyond their restaurant menu, and asked that the Smithfield Foods deal be nullified by the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois. [110]

On November 14, 2013, in a unanimous ruling authored by Judge Richard Posner, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by a lower District Court judge granting an injunction against the sale of Cracker Barrel's meat products to be sold in stores. The Seventh Circuit upheld the injunction based on the combined similarity of the parties’ marks, goods, and channels of trade: "It's not the fact that the parties' trade are so similar that is decisive, nor even the fact that the products are similar (low-cost packaged food items). It is those similarities coupled with the fact that, if [Cracker Barrel] prevails in this suit, similar products with confusingly similar trade names will be sold through the same distribution channel – grocery stores, and often the same grocery stores – and advertised together." In Judge Posner's estimation, these similarities – despite the differences in the parties’ respective logos and regardless of where the products are located in relation to each other in grocery stores – might lead consumers to "think all the Kraft products bearing the 'Cracker Barrel' name were produced in association with the Defendant." In economics this behavior is referred to as 'traditional forward confusion.' The court further concluded the likelihood of confusion was exacerbated by the fact that both products at issue were inexpensive thus, consumers were unlikely to scrutinize their respective labels. [111] In response to the ruling, Kraft Foods and Cracker Barrel made an agreement regarding the use of the Cracker Barrel name. In exchange for Kraft dropping the trademark-infringement lawsuit, Cracker Barrel agreed to sell its products under the brand name "CB Old Country Store." [112]


They fired a veteran for giving food to the homeless

You'd think a company that's had as much bad press as Cracker Barrel would be grasping for all the good publicity it can find, and what's better for making a company look good than charity? Unfortunately, when 73-year-old Vietnam veteran and Cracker Barrel employee Joe Koblenzer decided to give away a corn muffin to a man who looked homeless, instead of cheering him on and pushing a positive headline, Cracker Barrel opted to fire him and wallow in the inevitable bad press that followed. And boy, did it follow. The justification was that it's against company policy to give away food and that this wasn't the first time Joe had done it. But when you weigh the cost of a corn muffin against the price of bad publicity, it doesn't take long to realize that whoever did the math was crackers, and the only place it would get the company was over the barrel.


Cracker Barrel on cheese and ham—likely to cause consumer confusion

Defendant, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., is a low-price restaurant chain with about 620 restaurants, founded in 1969. Cracker Barrel wanted to start using its name &ldquoCracker Barrel Old Country Store&rdquo in connection with various ham products, such as hams, lunchmeat, bacon and jerky, and sell its products at supermarket stores.

Plaintiff, Kraft Foods Group Brands (Kraft), a major supplier of packaged food products to grocery stores, has been selling Cracker Barrel cheese since 1954. After Cracker Barrel Old Country Store announced plans to start selling a line of meat products under the name Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Kraft sued, claiming trademark infringement, arguing that many &ldquoconsumers will be confused by the similarity of the logos and think that food products so labeled are Kraft products, with the result that if they are dissatisfied with a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store product, they will blame Kraft.&rdquo

The district court issued a preliminary injunction, stopping the restaurant&rsquos plans to expand its brand to sell pre-packaged meat products in grocery stores, finding that Kraft was likely to prevail on its trademark infringement claim. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store appealed.

On appeal, the 7th Circuit upheld the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court, concluding that Kraft could be injured if consumers were dissatisfied with the restaurant chain&rsquos meat products. If a consumer has a bad experience with product sold by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store &ldquoand blames Kraft, thinking it is the producer-Kraft&rsquos sales of Cracker Barrel cheeses are likely to decline.&rdquo &ldquoThe likelihood of confusion seems substantial and the risk to Kraft of the loss of valuable goodwill and control therefore palpable.&rdquo The appeals court further said that although the appearance of the logos of the two products is different, if the two products are at different locations in the grocery store, some consumers might forget the differences between the logos and therefore think that the products are sold by the same company. &ldquoFamiliarity is likely to have made the name Cracker Barrel salient to grocery shoppers, and so any product bearing that name might be attributed to Kraft, even if close scrutiny of the label would suggest that the product might well have a different origin.&rdquo The court concluded that if Cracker Barrel Old Country would prevail in this suit, the similar products would be sold through the same distribution channels which would further cause likelihood of confusion among consumers.


Kraft wins battle over Cracker Barrel label -- at least for now

Kraft Foods has prevailed, at least so far, in the battle over the Cracker Barrel label.

The issue before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was whether Cracker Barrel Old Country Store should be prohibited from marketing a line of meat under its name because it could be confused with Kraft's line of Cracker Barrel cheese.

In an opinion written by Judge Richard Posner, a three-judge panel ruled today that a ban should remain in place while the two companies fight the issue out in court. Kraft sued Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in January, claiming trademark infringement.

Kraft has been selling Cracker Barrel cheese for about 60 years, according to the lawsuit. The 620-strong restaurant chain Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was founded in 1969.

Late last year, the restaurant chain announced it was partnering with Smithfield to sell a line of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store foods, such as hams, lunchmeat, bacon and jerky. Kraft sued, claiming many “consumers will be confused by the similarity of the logos and think that food products so labeled are Kraft products, with the result that if they are dissatisfied with a (Cracker Barrel Old Country Store) product, they will blame Kraft,” according to the lawsuit.

A preliminary injunction was issued by the lower court, stopping the chain's plans, but not before the company started stocking shelves with its new products. But the similarity in names confused even those who worked for the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, according to the ruling.

“In the brief period before the … injunction was issued, in which (Cracker Barrel Old Country Store) hams were sold in grocery stores, an online ad for Cracker Barrel Sliced Spiral Ham by a coupons firm provided a link to a coupon for Kraft’s Cracker Barrel cheese,” Posner wrote.

The injunction does not prevent the restaurant chain from selling the products at its restaurants or online while the lawsuit is pending.


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Cracker Barrel Restaurant's products barred from grocery stores

A federal judge is backing an effort by Kraft Foods to keep Cracker Barrel Old Country Store from expanding into grocery stores.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman in Chicago granted a preliminary injunction on Monday blocking Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel from selling its branded meats in grocery stores. Kraft claims that would infringe on its own Cracker Barrel-trademarked cheese and confuse consumers.

Cracker Barrel argued that it's not selling cheese, and the distance between the dairy and meat sections would reduce confusion.

Gettleman says Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft has a good chance of prevailing in its lawsuit.

He says sales of Kraft's Cracker Barrel cheese are strong, and the trademark was registered more than a decade before Cracker Barrel Old Country Store used the name.


Watch the video: How to Make Gravy with Bacon and Sausage (June 2022).


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