Cracker Barrel has made some refreshing changes to its menu.
For the first time 51 years, the family-friendly chain will be serving beer and wine at 600 of its 660 stores in the U.S. by July 2021. You'll also be able to enjoy a cold mimosa with your buttermilk pancakes. Two flavors — orange and strawberry — are being offered.
The company's VP of culinary and menu strategy, Cammie Spillyards-Schaefer, explained the decision in a statement to TODAY Food.
"Our guests have told us that offering beer and wine would reduce the veto vote — that is, those guests who would choose Cracker Barrel for a given dining occasion, but ultimately go elsewhere because they would like to have a beer or a glass of wine with their meal, especially during weekend dinner," Spillyards-Schaefer wrote. She added that they hopes to "expand the variety" of offerings.
To help boost sales, the company has rolled out a limited assortment of alcoholic beverages at 20 locations in January.
“The results of this test thus far have been overwhelmingly positive, and so we have decided to expand the test in different markets in Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky," Janella Escobar, head of corporate communications at Cracker Barrel, told TODAY Food in June.
Escobar added that the mimosas have been "quite popular."
During a phone call with investors that month, the company's CEO, Sandra B. Cochran, said that patrons can also look forward to an updated menu that includes chicken pot pie and fried pork chops.
Though Cochran expects profits to be “somewhat choppy” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, she remains "optimistic" about Cracker Barrel's future.
Every Cracker Barrel is "implementing social distancing measures throughout the entire guest journey," Cochran said. To reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus and other germs, all employees must pass a health check prior to each shift. They are also required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, at all times.
For those who are not ready for a dine-in experience just yet, Cracker Barrel will continue to offer services such as curbside pickup, third-party delivery and family meal baskets.
EDITOR'S NOTE (Sept. 21, 2020, 2:49 p.m. EST): This article has been updated with Cracker Barrel's plans to put alcohol on its nationwide menu.