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The Fan Favorite
Sandra Cochran is no stranger to The Power List. The president and CEO of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., who also appeared on NRN’s ranking last year, is successfully steering the venerable family-dining restaurant chain and retail concept through turbulent times for full-service segments. While same-store restaurant traffic fell in fiscal 2017, and sales were essentially flat, Cracker Barrel still outperformed the full-service segment.
Known for: Cracker Barrel has a reputation as a customer favorite, reflected in its strong positioning in NRN’s annual Consumer Picks survey. Last year, the chain was cited for its “Pleasing People” mantra, which translates into creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere at its homey restaurants.
Power move: Not one to rest on its laurels, Cracker Barrel is eyeing growth by branching out with Holler & Dash, a fast-casual biscuit concept. The new concept, which NRN named a Breakout Brand last year, is poised to grow with backing from its heavyweight sibling brand.
What’s next: Cochran said in an earnings call last year that 2018 would be all about investing in the long-term growth of the company. Expect Cracker Barrel’s off-premise business to expand, and more units to keep opening. In February, the chain will make its latest debut in the new market of California.
Correction: Jan. 25, 2018 An earlier version of this story misstated the opening of Cracker Barrel in California. It will debut in the state in February.