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Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc | Company Profile, Marketing Contacts, Media Spend, Brands

 CBRL Group Inc., headquartered in Lebanon, TN, is a holding company that operates and develops the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant and retail concept. The company currently operates over 550 Cracker Barrel restaurants and gift shops in about 40 states.

Main Telephone (615) 444-5533
Main Fax (615) 443-9511
Primary Address
Post Office Box 787
Lebanon, TN 37088-0787

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc Contacts

Contacts (5/16)
Name Title State
Sandra C. President & Chief Executive Officer TN
Sample of Associated Brands
Email: *****@*******.***
Main Phone: (615) 444-5533
Direct Phone: *** **** ***   ext: ****
Direct Fax: *** **** ***
Assistant Name: ** **** ***
Assistant Phone: *** **** ***
Address: Post Office Box 787
Lebanon, TN

Don H. Vice President, Marketing TN
Stephen H. Director, Market Research & Menu Strategy TN
Desiree G. Director, Restaurant Marketing TN
M.Janella E. Head, Corporate Communications TN

Media Spend

Media Spend Summary
Media Spend Channel

Associated Brands

Brand Media Spend
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. ********

Agency Relationships

Brand Agency Service From To
******* ****** *** ******* *****, ***. *** ****** ***** media buying & planning 1980 present
******* ****** *** ******* *****, ***. ******* Public Relations 2015 present
******* ****** *** ******* *****, ***. ***** ***** ***** Media Buying, Media Planning unknown present
******* ****** *** ******* *****, ***. ***** ***** ***** Media Buying, Media Planning unknown present

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Score 63 – On the Brink: Cracker Barrel continues millennial focus after splitting CMO function

Subject: digital, TV, outdoor, Hispanic, social media, online


Update (4/6): As an example of its new millennial focused social media and music approach (research reportedly produced more than 20 videos over three days by working with six social media influencers. 

Therefore, readers offering music partnerships that can also be used for engaging social content should reach out. As marketing VP Don Hoffman told Adweek - ”We want to grow our own social channels, and the key to that is to provide great content. Music partnerships like this give us a great opportunity to create a lot of engaging content.”

Keep in mind that CB should be most receptive to country music related pitches since he added that “country music fans make up a large portion of Cracker Barrel’s customer base.”

Furthermore, agencies – the CMO function appears to have been split at the end of last year. We were told marketing SVP Chris Ciavarra now oversees menu, pricing and food marketing, while Don Hoffman, hired as marketing VP in November, is on billboards, radio and TV.  Based on this and marketing SVP Ciavarra’s eight years with Cracker Barrel (well past Future Possibility” to “On the Brink” in our agency new business predictive platform.

Experience: Reporting to CEO  Sandra Cochran, Hoffman was with DDB Worldwide since 1995 as global business director and director of US client relations.

Below originally published 4/6

Opportunity: In the Q2 earnings call (CB's FY ends in July), Cracker Barrel's CEO Sandy Cochran said that CB will invest marketing spend in heightening brand awareness. She confirmed our earlier report (research here) that, for the first time, CB will run national cable ads during its Q3 period (Feb. to April). This will include a four-week flight aimed at reinforcing the company's freshly-prepared menu items, everyday value and welcoming guest experience. This TV campaign is set to continue through the summer in order to further raise brand awareness.

Additionally, CB is “accelerating” the re-messaging of it billboards. This effort, which is expected to be completed by mid-April, will see one-third of the company's 1,600 billboards have strong value and price point messaging. Read more about DV's take on CB here. S

Sellers should note that CB is increasing marketing investments gradually through 2017, so there should be plenty of dollars available, especially to those who can get the CB brand in front of a younger audience.  CB is also continuing its efforts to appeal to a younger audience via paid and owned digital media, a recent departure from the outdoor ad dominated eatery. Cracker Barrel is also opening the new Holler & Dash concept, targeted to a younger, urban base (more here). 

The Buntin Group handles OOH media buying and planning. 

Additional Information

Media Spend: This media spend is for parent company Cracker Barrel and not Holler & Dash, but as CB increases marketing spend, some of this will most likely be allocated to H&D. Kantar Media reports that CB spent $21.3 million on measured media through Q3 2015 – roughly the same as the same period 2014. Keep in mind that CB's biggest spend period is traditionally Q4, and that DV told you in Sept. 2015 of the company's plans to increase ad spend, including running more TV (more here).

cracker-barrel-old-country-store-and-restaurant-est-tv-spend-01-01-2015--12-31-2015 (1)

TV Breakdown: ISpot reports that CB spent $11 million on national TV ads last year – down slightly from $12.3 million in 2014. The four spots were run mostly from June to August and then from mid-October through the end of the year. See charts for 2015 channel/show targeting. Plans to increase TV spend were announced late in 2015 and 2016 national TV spend is roughly $4,000 (compared to $0 for the same period last year). Looking at show targeting from last year, agency readers who can help CB refine its media buys to actually get in front of the audience they purport to want to attract will likely be received favorably. 


Digital Breakdown: Moat reports that CB ran 20 display ads on 175 publishers in 2015 (75% mobile). Top ad destinations included,, and (71% placed site direct versus programmatic). CB also ran two high impact and six video ads last year.

For comparison, in 2014 35 display ads were run on 102 publishers (23% mobile). However, no high impact or video ads were run in 2014.

For 2015, display presence spiked in April and in September and most ads were run across arts/entertainment, food/drink and news sites. Sports sites showed up as the fifth highest category for CB's digital presence, but as the company targets a younger consumer, this could prove a more valuable channel. 

305 Hartmann Dr. 
Lebanon, TN 37087 
(615) 444-5533 

Chris Ciavarra
Senior Vice President, Marketing – Cracker Barrel
(615) 444-5533 

 Don Hoffman