How Did Cracker Barrel Get Its Name?

How Did Cracker Barrel Get Its Name?TENNESSEE - There are some controversies surrounding the restaurant's name, including the history of the name "cracker barrel." Cracker barrels were a popular way to store soda crackers before plastics were widely available. The word "cracker" has also been used as a racial slur. However, the restaurant has denied these accusations.

How Did Cracker Barrel Get Its Name?
Photo: Cracker Barrel

The First Cracker Barrel Opened In Lebanon, Tenn., In 1970

 It soon expanded, incorporating more than 400 locations.  The company first leased land on gas stations near interstate highways to open restaurants. The restaurants initially featured gas pumps on-site, but they were later phased out due to shortages in gasoline. In the early 1980s, Cracker Barrel shifted its focus from gas stations to restaurants and gift shops. The company went public the following year, raising $4.6 million in an IPO.

The name "Cracker Barrel" has roots in old country stores.  Back in the day, people would gather around cracker barrels to share news and information. Evins chose the name as a nod to the country stores of his youth. He thought a down-home country store would appeal to the home-sick traveler more than a fast-food joint.

While the name is very catchy, it also has a history of controversy.  In the 1990s, the restaurant's founder Dan Evins was accused of firing employees because they were gay. This policy was later rescinded, but not before an outraged public backlash erupted.