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Cracker Barrel banks on biscuits in $36 million all-cash deal

Paa Emma

Oct. 12, 2019

Cracker Barrel is more than just one uber-popular restaurant chain known for its Southern-themed comfort food. It’s a vast food enterprise comprised of multiple entities, including the newly purchased Maple Street Biscuit brand.
In a stunning all-cash deal announced Friday, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. revealed that it’s purchased Maple Street Biscuit Company and its “28 company-owned and five franchised fast-casual locations” for $36 million.
Launched in Florida seven years ago by Gus Evans and current CEO Scott Moore, Maple Street Biscuit offers “comfort food” like Cracker Barrel, except with a focus on breakfast.
Check out some of its delicious-looking food below:
“The breakfast and lunch-focused fast-casual category is an attractive segment, and our experience with Holler & Dash has reinforced this belief,” Cracker Barrel President and CEO Sandra B. Cochran said in a statement .
Holler & Dash is a Cracker Barrel-launched brand designed to specifically target millennials. Launched in 2016, the brand has fared poorly. So much so that Cracker Barrel reportedly plans to “fold” the brand and convert its locations to Maple Street Biscuit locations.
“We have long admired Maple Street Biscuit Company with its emphasis on made-from-scratch food and hospitality,” Cochran’s statement continues. “It is a proven brand with attractive unit economics and strong growth potential, and it is positioned to become a leader in this category.”
“The acquisition accelerates our penetration in this segment and provides growth for delivering shareholder value. I look forward to working with Scott and his team as we further grow this brand together.”
Moore will reportedly remain CEO of the company and report directly to Cochran — all while still collecting a stunning $36 million payday. Well done.
“From the beginning, Maple Street Biscuit Company has focused on serving its communities through comfort food with a modern twist and gracious service,” he said in a statement.
“Our brands share many similarities such as scratch cooking and an emphasis on hospitality. I’m excited about this opportunity, and I believe Cracker Barrel will help us grow our brand and further achieve our mission of helping people, serving others, and being a part of the community.”
Just like Chick-fil-A, Maple Street Biscuit in its current form is a Christian organization that closes on Sunday and abides by basic religious precepts pertaining to behavior.
“We want you to have fun while you work. We are a family, not just a group of co-workers,” a page on its website for aspiring employees reads. “You’ll find a safe place – no cursing or yelling allowed here. You will get Sundays off to worship, relax or spend time with family and friends.”
In a profile of one Maple Street Biscuit location two years ago, the Gwinnett Daily Post wrote of a “community table” where diners are encouraged to meet one another.
“[T]o help bring their guests together and build community, there is a community table,” the profile reads . “Anyone can sit at the large circular tables and start a conversation with a stranger who very well might turn out to be a neighbor from down the road. Most of the time, it’s the kids who initiate conversation with other guests, and parents follow suit.”
“On a slower day you can choose to sit alone, but on Saturdays, you don’t really have that luxury because you kind of just sit wherever you can,” the location’s owner, Lindsey Smith, said. I’ve seen all of these chairs just packed, and all these families just — they know each other. Little kids will talk and meet each other and so it’s awesome.”
It’s not clear whether the round “community table” is a staple at every Maple Street Biscuit location.
What’s clear from a quick glance through Twitter is that the restaurant’s various locations are sometimes used as meeting spots for community/school meetings.
Check it out:
One was reportedly used for a campaign stop by then-GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio in 2016:
And one reportedly chose to follow Chick-fil-A’s track record of charity and kindness by providing lunch to a Jesuit football team last year:
It’s unclear whether the restaurant’s commitment to community and Christian values will remain now that it’s owned by Cracker Barrel, a company known for touting left-wing values and taking decidedly left-wing political positions .
Included on Cracker Barrel’s website is a page on so-called “diversity & inclusion.” The campaign seems to focus primarily on catering to women, millennials and the LGBT community, though military veterans are mentioned as well.
Learn more about Maple Street Biscuit below:
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