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EXCLUSIVE: Taylor Swift’s hometown Cracker Barrel set to drop her favorites from the menu as the chain faces dramatic makeover

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EXCLUSIVE: Taylor Swift's hometown Cracker Barrel set to drop her favorites from the menu as the chain faces dramatic makeover

 

Taylor’s favorite spot was once the humble Cracker Barrel in Hendersonville, Tn. But the floundering chain’s new plans to rebrand amid tanking sales and customers means it will be the end of the restaurant as the pop star knows it. The once popular restaurant chain, with 662 locations across the nation, has lost more than a sixth of its customers in just four years – a trend that is expected to continue if it keeps its outdated brand.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Taylor Swift's hometown Cracker Barrel set to drop her favorites from the menu as the chain faces dramatic makeover

In fact, the company’s stock tanked earlier this month after CEO Julie Felss Masino admitted that the chain is ‘not as relevant as it once was.’
The CEO, however, added that the business is now committed to turning things around and that the restaurant will be undergoing a brand makeover that will include livening up the rustic theme with brighter colors, a new logo, as well as new menus. Menu prices at many locations will also rise as a result, she said.

Fortunately for longtime Cracker Barrel fan Taylor Swift, who these days is more likely to frequent upscale and high-end restaurants anyway, the price-hike won’t be anything she can’t afford. But the overhaul could mean her favorite menu items are in danger of going extinct. Swift, who was born and raised in Pennsylvania, became well-acquainted with the southern country fare after relocating with her family to the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, Tennessee, at the age of 14 to pursue her music career.

The local Cracker Barrel eventually became her favorite restaurant, so much so that she would later make a point to return to get her ‘southern fixings’ even after she had made it big as a pop superstar. In 2015, restaurant waitstaff described tending to the singer during her visits to Hendersonville and recalled how Swift was always friendly and left a big tip.

They also revealed her favorite menu items included dumplings and biscuits with apple butter. A server named Connie – who shared a selfie of her with Taylor when she ate at the restaurant almost a decade ago – said at the time: ‘She really likes apple butter and biscuits, I’ve waited on her and she always wants a ton of apple butter! And dumplings, she is a big fan of the dumplings we do here. ‘She sits by the window or in the third room at the back. She usually comes in with her family.

‘Most of the members of the Grand Ol Opry don’t leave much of a tip, just five dollars. ‘But there was a guy who worked here and waited on her who had been to school with her – she tipped him a hundred dollars!’ Set around a roaring open fire, the mid-west chain restaurant has family-style tables and chairs and offers typical southern US favorites such as deep fried okra, chicken and catfish as well as mashed potatoes and biscuits.

Most main course plates on the menu cost between just $9 and $15 at the time. Staff at the Hendersonville Cracker Barrel were also impressed with the way the generous pop star had given back to the community she grew up in as a teen – which had seen her donate $75,000 to her old school and helped put the city on the map. Another waitress, Tammy, said at the time: ‘She’s always very humble and always very nice to everyone.

‘She’s always relaxed when she comes here, she feels she can let her guard down. She comes here because nobody makes a big fuss, that’s the reason. ‘She’s such a great figure for Hendersonville, she given back tenfold to the community and we’re proud she is from here.’ Cracker Barrels are deliberately meant to reflect an old-time country store that sells traditional southern fare and simple comfort food.

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