Cracker Barrel expanding to groceries

Jan. 27, 2013 at 3:48 PM

LEBANON, Tenn., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Cracker Barrel plans to expand and sell branded food at grocery stores, the U.S. company announced.

"Our research shows that our guests would like to be able to purchase Cracker Barrel products in places other than just our restaurants and retail stores, and we believe that there is opportunity here to meet that desire," the company stated in an email.

The company already sells various food products such as pie filling and muffin mixes in the retail portion of its country-themed restaurants, but plans to expand, The (Nashville) Tennessean said Sunday. Analysts applauded the move, but cautioned against straying too far from the core business model for the Lebanon, Tenn.-based company.

"It's a good start, but you don't want to do too much or you'll risk brand dilution," said Stephen Anderson, an analyst with Miller Tabak.

Other restaurant chains such as Bob Evans, Boston Market, P.F. Chang's and T.G.I. Fridays have gone the grocery store route with success. Grocery items allow customers to interact with the brand without having to go out to eat -- a luxury many families have reduced since the 2008 recession, analysts said.

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