Why Does Florida Have So Many Cracker Barrels?

Walking into a Cracker Barrel can be oddly comforting for people. As Redditor GeorgeNorman put it, "If you want comfortable and predictable food near the exit ramp, Cracker Barrel is the ultimate answer to that." Echoing that idea, Redditor Raceful  wrote that the "element of consistency" offers "an understated comfort and value." Every store and restaurant has that homestyle southern feel. And according to the company website, "Every Cracker Barrel has an ox yoke and a horseshoe hanging over the front door, a traffic light over the restrooms, and a barrel with a checkerboard in front of the fireplace."  

Apparently, that combination of consistency and Southern charm appeals to a lot of Americans because as of July 2022, there are 667 Cracker Barrel locations, mostly dotted along highways stretching across the country (via ScrapeHero). What state boasts the most Cracker Barrel stores and restaurants? Florida, which has 60 locations. With a population of 21.48 million people, that comes out to one Cracker Barrel for every 357,966 people. Texas comes in next with 54 locations, followed quickly by Tennessee, which has 51 Cracker Barrels.

Older people apparently love Cracker Barrel

So, Florida may have the most Cracker Barrels, but just exactly why there are so many in the Sunshine State is up to speculation. Around the early 2000s, users of the Ars Technica forum posted some of their theories, including user @mindzeye who commented "Probably because the tourists demand them. Or the snowbirds. Hey, where else can you buy cast iron cookware while you wait for your table and on your way out throw a rocking chair in the back of your pickup and take off??" User @AmigaPhreak likewise wrote, "I think you will find many Cracker Barrel restaurants in places where 'down home cookin” is highly prized. These include places with lots of old people." And @Clintology chimed in, "My grandparents LOVE cracker barrel, so I will echo everyone's comments and say that it's attributed to the old people."

In 2016, a writer for Thrillist visited a Cracker Barrel store in an attempt to discover what all the fuss is about in terms of the chain's popularity. They came to the conclusion that the restaurant endures because it "offers cheap, plentiful comfort food in a convenient location, along with numerous entertainment possibilities," all while noting many customers there were indeed "white-haired ladies" with their "white-haired husbands."