Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has opened electric car charging stations at several restaurants, an initiative it has been planning for 10 months.
This month, electric car charging stations went online at 12 Tennessee restaurants, with another scheduled to open Monday at a Cracker Barrel in Lebanon, Tenn., where the company has its headquarters. Cracker Barrel said it expects to open a total of 24 stations by the end of November.
Cracker Barrel unveiled the pilot project in December 2010 . The company is committed to it through December 2012, with the option to extend its length.
The 604-unit family-dining chain operator has not disclosed costs related to the initiative, said Julie Davis, senior director of corporate communications.
“I think it's fair to say that Cracker Barrel is making a substantial investment in this project because we like to think that our guests will be pleased to see Cracker Barrel taking an active role in exploring energy alternatives that are aimed at protecting the environment,” Davis said.
The charging stations are a way of showing that Cracker Barrel is “focused on the future, even as we provide guests with a genuinely hospitable experience reminiscent of a time past,” she added.
View a time-lapse video of the construction of the station; story continues below
Other restaurants are adding electric car charging stations, too. Earlier this month, Café Yumm!, a casual-dining chain with 11 units in Oregon, debuted a solar-powered charging station that can accommodate six electric cars at one of its Eugene, Ore., restaurant.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday to inaugurate Cracker Barrel’s thirteenth station, the company will highlight the installation of the first DC Fast Charger station available to the public in Tennessee.
“The DC Fast Charger can charge a Nissan LEAF to 80 percent in 30 minutes or so, about the amount of time it takes to have a meal at Cracker Barrel,” Davis said.
The Blink Pedestal chargers, or slow chargers, used at the other 12 restaurants, “take about eight hours to provide a complete charge, and so those will probably be used for ‘topping off the tank,’” she added.
By the end of November, the chain will have chargers in 24 locations, 12 of which will have both DC Fast Chargers and Blink Pedestal Chargers, Davis said.