Source: Nations Restaurant News| Nancy Luna
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is joining the growing list of restaurant chains deleting menu items to simplify operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Lebanon, Tenn.-based comapny, which reported a 41.7% decline in same-store sales in the second quarter, has streamlined its menu for both guests and employees by eliminating items while also adding a few new dishes.
Related: Cracker Barrel’s post-pandemic strategy: testing beer and wine program, rolling out new menu
“We delete menu items from time to time to make room for new signature, craveable menu items that our guests love,” Cammie Spillyards-Schaefer, vice president of Culinary and Menu Strategy, told Nation’s Restaurant News in a statement.
Cracker Barrel representatives declined to name the items removed from the menu.
Related: Red Robin betting big on off-premise, downsized menu during pandemic recovery phase
The “simplified” menu has a new category, Cracker Barrel Favorites, which features the brand’s best-known dishes. The menu section includes the newly introduced Barrel-Cut Sugar Ham, a bone-in Sugar Ham steak served with biscuits or corn muffins and choice of three country sides. It’s $14.99.
Other new dishes include Maple Bacon Grilled Chicken ($9.99); Saturday Country Fried Pork Chops ($9.99); and Sunday Pot Roast Supper ($9.99). The company also updated recipes to some dishes including the Cracker Barrel Sampler, which now includes Chicken n’ Dumplins, full-size Meatloaf and Sugar Cured or Country Ham.
The changes come as many chains across the industry — from quick service to fine dining — have trimmed or modified menus during the pandemic to increase throughput in the kitchen.
Among those trimming bloated menus temporarily or permanently during the pandemic include Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Panda Express, McDonald’s and Taco Bell.
Casual dining chain Red Robin said deleting 55 items from its menu contributed to operational and labor efficiencies when restaurants were forced to close dine-in operations. On Aug. 13, Taco Bell, whose parent company is Yum Brands, said it is removing 12 items from its menu.
Cracker Barrel said the company was “working on these menu updates before the pandemic and had done extensive testing with our guests to ensure that we got these changes just right.”
“In this new environment, we have found that new menu items give guests new reasons to dine with us, whether in our dining rooms or in their homes (through curbside pick-up or delivery), and give our team members the streamlined menu they need to ensure a great experience filled with genuine hospitality,” the company said in a statement.