Business Acumen and the Barrel

Posted by Craig Schwipps on April 13, 2017
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Cracker Barrel Business Acumen Employee Engagement

There are few things sweeter in life to me than the sounds and smells of breakfast being made. Combine those with a setting of an old time convenience store covered wall to wall with old instruments and advertisements from an age I’ll never know, and you’ve got one of the best dining experiences in my opinion. I am referring of course to Cracker Barrel, the Old Country Store.

Family vacations were always made a little homier by sitting at a big handmade wooden table in front of a fireplace and taking turns with my siblings playing the triangle peg board game. Cracker Barrel is just one of those restaurants that has become a staple across America. Whether it’s your favorite lunchtime spot to go to after church, or if you’re a traveler on your way to a long distance destination (as 40% of their business is), Cracker Barrel has garnered a following that reflects highly on its business acumen.

What is the most brilliant business move by Cracker Barrel? Their “Old Country Store” setup. Cracker Barrel is first and foremost a food service restaurant, but they are innovative and memorable for their retail store as well. It’s ingenious. Popular restaurants sometimes have issues keeping their clients’ attentions if they have an extended wait time. Cracker Barrel has solved this with little effort. If you have to wait for a table at the Barrel, you simply peruse the merchandise in their large store. This adds on to Cracker Barrel’s revenue stream as their retail sales account for a fifth of their total revenue. In fact, their best selling item is their rocking chair! Shocking right? I would have guessed biscuits and gravy.

What if all restaurants used this kind of ingenuity with their customer base? They may see sales skyrocket and growth they’ve always wanted. It’s not just knowing their customers’ desires and expectations, it’s being the food service and retail store to go above and beyond in service. They make sure you remember your experience. I’ve never met a server at Cracker Barrel who wasn’t a total sweetheart. And maybe you only went there to eat and didn’t buy anything from the store, but I’ll bet as you were browsing around waiting for a table you saw an item that would make a great gift. You’ll remember that.

What can you do to make your organization memorable? Often it starts with creating the right experience. And your customers will never experience the perfect service if your employees aren’t fully committed and engaged. Over $720 million is invested in engagement in the US every year. If you want training and investment that produces real results like Cracker Barrel, you need business acumen training. You’ll see engaged employees, confident in their role and impact as they make decisions like a business owner.

Learn more about the benefits business acumen can bring to your organization from our eBook Business Acumen Anecdotes. Click HERE


Topics: Business Acumen, Employee Engagement