116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — If you’re a resident of the Corridor, there’s a good chance you’ve heard someone ask when the area will get a Cracker Barrel.
The topic has come up enough that The Gazette decided to pose the question to Cracker Barrel’s corporate team in Tennessee. If you’re a fan of the country-themed chain that dots interstates across the nation with its Southern comfort food, you’re not going to like this news.
Cracker Barrel did consider Cedar Rapids at some point in the past, but decided not to locate here, according to a representative for the chain.
“We’re always considering opportunities for new locations, and we appreciate hearing that guests in your area would like to welcome us to their community,” said Jessica Mancuso, representative for Cracker Barrel. “We did look at Cedar Rapids in the past, but at that time we decided not to move forward with any location.”
Mancuso said they receive hundreds of suggestions for new locations each year, including a handful of requests from Corridor residents. Generally, the requests are for new locations in urban and densely populated areas.
Cracker Barrel uses a “multitude” of factors to evaluate potential new locations, including years of market research and forecasting models. Each location is about 10,000 square feet, so nearly 3 acres is needed to accommodate each restaurant building and parking lot. But the chain also has to consider one of its target audiences: travelers.
“Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was founded to address the need for a place where those who are traveling and are far away from their homes can stop for good food in a place where they feel welcomed and cared for like family,” Mancuso said. “So, staying true to our origin, we evaluate potential properties on if they can provide easy access to our guests to and from the interstate.”
Cracker Barrel looks within a 5-mile radius of populated areas to find locations that are accessible to the local community as well as travelers, and are zoned for commercial restaurant use.
Three cities in Iowa have Cracker Barrel restaurants: Clive, which opened nearly 30 years ago; Davenport, which opened in 1993; and Council Bluffs, which opened in 1996.
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