What Really Happened To Cracker Barrel's Trendy Offshoot, Holler & Dash

When you think of Cracker Barrel, you're thinking more along the lines of biscuits, rocking chairs, and those peg games you find at every table than any sort of start-up company. In fact, just the word "trendy" isn't exactly ringing any bells in a place that bills itself as an old country store from the early 20th century. But, once upon a time, Cracker Barrel actually did try its hand at a trendy offshoot geared towards millennials and hipsters alike: Holler & Dash. Or, wait, is it the Maple Street Biscuit Company now?

Before we go any further, let's take a step back to the far-off time of 2016. Restaurant Business Online told us that Cracker Barrel was opening the Holler & Dash Biscuit Store, described as a "limited-service breakfast and lunch spot." Unlike the more rustic Cracker Barrel, Holler & Dash included an iPad-based ordering system and a self-ordering kiosk, focusing more on a "fast-casual" style of dining as compared to Cracker Barrel's more modern sit-down service. Holler & Dash also included its own craft soda line, similar to how some trendy bars and clubs have their own IPAs. According to Nation's Restaurant News in 2018, the restaurant was expanding to seven locations across five states, perhaps hinting that this hipster off-shoot of trendy sodas and handcrafted breakfasts would be successful.

Of course, most Cracker Barrel diners you'll meet nowadays have no idea what you mean by "Holler & Dash." How could such a concept fail? What happened to it? 

Cracker Barrel just wasn't made for fast-casual

As we've said before, when you think of Cracker Barrel, the idea of "fast-casual" dining doesn't sound like the old country store you know and love. This brief foray into the world of trendy fast-casual dining wasn't what Cracker Barrel was made for, according to Cracker Barrel shareholder Sardar Biglari. Biglari even stated that the idea of Holler & Dash was doomed to fail from the start.

"From the outset, we believed Holler & Dash was an ill-conceived project that was destined to fail," wrote Biglari in a letter to Cracker Barrel CEO Sandy Cochran (via Nation's Restaurant News). "After three years, our original conviction has only intensified. The company has no business pursuing a start-up." Although no comment was ever made on the letter, it seemed that Biglari's words rang true, as Cracker Barrel abandoned the Holler & Dash in 2019.

In place of Holler & Dash, reports The Tennessean, Cracker Barrel began to convert the fast-casual restaurants into locations for the Maple Street Biscuit Company, a Florida-based biscuit chain that Cracker Barrel had acquired. As of 2021, it would seem that the Maple Street Biscuit Company is helping to recover some of those lost profits from the Holler & Dash endeavor and other financial concerns (via Jacksonville Daily Record), with further expansion plans ongoing (via WJCT News).

Perhaps it's best if Cracker Barrel sticks to what they know from now on: old people and the old country.