Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2010 11:15 AM
Continuing on today's electric car theme, we bring to your attention Cracker Barrel Old Country Store — a US restaurant brand that doesn’t exactly have a reputation as an early adopter. Instead, the Lebanon, Tenn.-based chain is better known as a “family dining” outfit dishing up Southern-style comfort food — try the chicken and dumplings! — along Interstate highways in 41 states.
It features a checkers table for customers, a row of rocking chairs on the “front porch” for sitting while you digest your meal, and an attached store that specializes in nostalgic wares. And this is the chain that, nearly 20 years ago, brought down fire from the homosexual-rights community because of its policy of employment discrimination against gays and lesbians.
So count us surprised that Cracker Barrel has become one of the first big nationwide restaurant chains to raise its hand for installing electric-vehicle charging stations.
Next spring at 24 of its restaurants stretching along the Interstate across Tennessee, Cracker Barrel plans to install the stations as part of an an initiative called the EV Project.
Presumptions about corporate culture aside, this gambit makes some sense for Cracker Barrel. Its loyal customers often look forward to exiting at “the next Cracker Barrel” along the highway just as EV drivers will be craning their necks for “the next charging station” if they travel any distance.
Cracker Barrel CEO Michael Woodhouse also expects non-EV owners to share a certain appreciation for the charging stations as well.
“While ownership of electric cars is small compared with traditional vehicles, there’s great curiosity about them, and so we expect our guests will be quite interested in seeing these charging stations when they stop in with us,” he said.
EV charging stations? Makes sense. Just don’t expect Cracker Barrels to begin serving sushi.