Porch sittin’ and wine sippin’ coming to Cracker Barrel with new alcoholic menu items

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Alcohol sales went through the roof in 2020, a year marked by a global pandemic, wildfires consuming the West Coast and a list of used hurricane names in the Atlantic that’s starting to resemble roll call in a third grade Zoom classroom.

Cracker Barrel was paying attention.

Everyone’s favorite road trip restaurant, which piloted a beer and wine program starting in January, announced this week that it’s rolling out alcoholic menu items in at least 600 stores by the end of year, with more to come in 2021.

“The performance of this initiative has been in line with our expectation,” President and CEO Sandra Cochran said during an earnings call Tuesday. “And while it is mostly targeted enhancing the dinner day part, our mimosas have proven to be quite popular in the breakfast and lunch day parts.”

The call was transcribed and posted online by The Motley Fool, a private financial advice company in Virginia.

Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel started testing a beer and wine program pre-pandemic in 20 locations, Delish reported. The restaurant also offered mimosas in two different flavors — orange and strawberry.

When dining rooms started to reopen as lockdown measures lifted across the country, Cracker Barrel expanded the test program to “boost lost revenue,” Fox News reported.

Cochran said Tuesday alcoholic beverages have since been added to roughly 100 stores in Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“Based on the favorable results, we’ll be introducing the beer and wine program to the majority of our system in fiscal ‘21 and we expect it to be in approximately 600 stores by the end of the fiscal year,” she said.

The planned locations include stores in Indiana, Mississippi and Virginia, Cochran added, but that could change.

“The cadence is dependent to some — to a large degree — on the licensing requirements in the communities we’re in, and to what degree we can move through that,” she said. “So that’s how the roll-out will go. It’s difficult to predict.”

New menu items will include beer, wine and mimosas, which Cochran said “continue to be the most popular.” But she said the company will “continue to relook at the assortment.”

“In fact, I think we’re testing some new items and our first seasonal mimosa in — maybe it’s next quarter even — in Florida,” Cochran said.

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