2013 Consumer Picks – Family Dining Ranking

We are Proud the our client, Cracker Barrel, was voted #1 in Family Dining by consumers!

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store again took a commanding lead in this year’s Family-Dining category in the Consumer Picks survey.

Just how big was Cracker Barrel’s lead? In addition to outscoring its closest competitor, Bob Evans Restaurants, by 6 percentage points in the overall rankings, the Lebanon, Tenn.-based chain won top spots in nine of the 10 attribute categories.

Cracker Barrel failed to win top grades only in the Value category, in which Norcross, Ga.-based Waffle House took the No. 1 spot. The 621-unit Cracker Barrel won by the largest margin — nearly 13 points — in the Atmosphere category, which shouldn’t come as a shock, said Jeffrey T. Davis, president at restaurant industry market research firm Sandelman & Associates.

Because Cracker Barrel focuses on both the restaurant and retail portions of its business, people think of it as a broader experience, he said, adding, “When you feel good about a place, it tends to overlap into other areas, as well. Cracker Barrel is way ahead of everybody else on decor.”

Davis said the chain’s high score for Atmosphere likely influenced consumers’ other perceptions about the brand, such as in the Reputation and Service attributes Cracker Barrel also scored high grades for Menu Variety, although it just edged out nearest competitors Bob Evans, which came in second place, and The Original Pancake House, which came in third place in the category.

Menu variety often is considered to be a key attribute for family-dining concepts, which must cater to both children and adults. As a result, Cracker Barrel and Bob Evans have made it a priority.

During the past couple of months, Cracker Barrel has been pushing new marketing and menu initiatives to provide more variety for its customers. The company plans to roll out a line of more healthful offerings, dubbed Wholesome Fixin’s, this summer. The line, which includes breakfast meals containing fewer than 500 calories and lunches and dinners with fewer than 600 calories, is expected to become a permanent fixture on the company’s menu.

Bob Evans, which sold its Mimi’s café brand to Le Duff America Inc. for $50 million in January to focus on its core business, has a menu that cuts across dayparts. After the Mimi’s sale, the Columbus, Ohio-based company noted that it would refocus on its bakery and carryout platforms — both of which are designed to drive sales growth and increase consumers’ dining occasions.

One major change in this year’s Family-Dining category is the absence of Marie Callender’s, which ranked No. 2 in Overall Score in last year’s survey. This year the chain fell below the survey’s sampling threshold. Marie Callender’s filed for and then emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2011, during which time it closed about one-third of its locations.

Other initiatives experts said have helped keep Cracker Barrel at the top of the Family-Dining pack include:

  • Retail. Because Cracker Barrel offers a country-focused music program — this year it’s sponsoring Brad Paisley’s summer 2013 tour — that dovetails with its retail business, the company generates a more robust brand presence in the minds of consumers. This also can impact such categories as Reputation and Food Quality.
  • Mass appeal. With the introduction of more healthful options, Cracker Barrel continues to employ a varied menu to deal with the veto vote. And since the comfort food served at Cracker Barrel can be high in calories, the chain is making an effort to appeal to its health-conscious consumers, as well.
  • Affordability. Cracker Barrel came in No. 2 in terms of Value, and it was able to drive home its value proposition to customers by highlighting its 14 Country Dinner Plates for $7.69.
  • Advertising. One of the company’s core advertising mediums is the billboard, which Cracker Barrel uses to promote limited-time offers as well as the chain’s overall family and “old country” brand positioning. Cracker Barrel has 1,600 billboards system wide.

 

 

Back

What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Francisco Chevez is one in a million!

    I would like to formally thank Francisco Chevez for helping me get this great District Manager position. Francisco was very professional from the beginning. He was persistent in his search for the perfect opportunity. He presented me with multiple job opportunities, all great. He made me feel as if I was his only client and his top priority. Even after starting the new job, he called back to check on me. Francisco is great at what he does and I’m glad I was paired with him.      

    Sincerely,

    Enzo Mera

    Francisco Chevez is one in a million!
  • Matt Lopez nailed it!

    I am thankful for the service that Matt Lopez provided on behalf of Patrice and Associates in finding me and matching me to an excellent job with an energy company in northern Virginia. Matt Lopez discussed the position and the company and advised me on the hiring process. Matt has the intuition to assess me the job candidate, and the employer regarding my personality and the corporate culture to make the match. Matt found a Company that has all the attributes that I have struggled over the past few years to find. I intend to do an excellent job for the Company that I am joining in October 2022. I plan to achieve my immediate objectives, the company’s goals and show that Patrice and Associated backed the right person for the job.                    

    Sincerely,

    Robert Chew

    Matt Lopez nailed it!
  • I can't thank Karl Busch enough!

    I recently relocated to South Carolina from New York.  At first I tried the usual big company name job search engines, I even reached out to a couple of recruiters but, Karl Busch at Patrice and Associates was the guy who got it done!  His guidance and advice along the way was invaluable.  I was able to secure an Executive Chef position at a high profile restaurant thanks to him.          

    Thank you!

    Steven D.

    I can't thank Karl Busch enough!
  • Shawn Hoye was great to work with.

    Super attentive with plenty insight into the local job market which gave me a leg up in making the perfect career move.              

    Many Thanks,

    Sean Giffing

    Shawn Hoye was great to work with!
  • Whitney Davis was incredible!

    I would just like to say what an asset Whitney Davis was in regards to me finding another job. I appreciate all the help and I would definitely recommend him to others.        

    Thank you!

    Larry A.

    Whitney Davis was incredible!