Cracker Barrel opens a ghost kitchen in Hollywood

There’s no front porch filled with rocking chairs, but Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has brought its Southern comfort foods to Hollywood.

The Tennessee-based chain has opened a virtual operation called Cracker Barrel Kitchen, serving such favorites as pancake breakfasts, country fried steak and Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake to addresses in this Los Angeles neighborhood.

Virtual kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens or cloud kitchens, don’t have dining rooms or wait staffs because they aren’t intended to be visited by customers. They are set up to prepare foods for delivery to people’s homes. In this case, the food is being prepared in a TGI Friday’s on Western Avenue, according to the address listed at Uber Eats, one of Cracker Barrel’s third-party delivery partners.

Other delivery partners listed in a news release are DoorDash and Grubhub.

Chains such as TGI Friday’s benefit from partnering with virtual concepts because it adds a revenue to stream to their operations and maximizes use of their kitchen space, according to entrepreneurs such as Robert Earl of Virtual Dining Concepts.

But dine-in customers are a big part of Cracker Barrel’s identity. Its locations are part restaurant, part retail store. Before and after meals diners can browse merchandise that includes home decor, clothes, toys, and nostalgic brands of candy. And those rocking chairs on the porch are for sale.

Cracker Barrel has more than 660 locations in 45 states, according to the news release, but is a relatively new presence in Southern California. It has two stores in the Inland Empire: Victorville, opened in 2018, and Rialto, opened in 2019.

Cracker Barrel Kitchen is the company’s third virtual concept. The others are Chicken ‘n Biscuits by Cracker Barrel, available through 500 of Cracker Barrel’s stores, and the Pancake Kitchen by Cracker Barrel, available through about 100 of Cracker Barrel’s stores.


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