We’re on to another restaurant sustainability news today.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store adapted to its customers’ greener lifestyle by putting up electric-car charging stations at 24 of its locations in Tennessee last month.
The charging-tests began to roll-out at Cracker Barrel’s family-dining restaurants since October, enabling customers who own electronic vehicles to charge their cars while they eat at the restaurant.
“This is our way of staying relevant as the lifestyles of our consumers change,” said Julie Davis, spokeswoman of the chain. “We also take pride in being one of the early participants in the country’s energy solution pursuits.”
The charging stations, known as Blink DC Fast Chargers, can provide guests with as much as 80% charge in half an hour, allowing diners to fill up in about the same time it takes them to order, eat and be served by Cracker Barrel’s efficient servers in elegant restaurant uniforms. The charging station is compatible with the 100% electric, zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) Nissan LEAF, which has a 100-mile reach, can seat five passengers, and can speed up to 90 mph. The Blink Fast Chargers are available to the public, and are fit for travel on Tennessee’s interstate highways.
During its test run this year, guests will not be charged for electricity. The fees will start by January 1, with the amount yet to be determined by ECOtality Inc., the restaurant’s partner in the project. The chain will collect a percentage of the payment generated for electricity, although they do not really expect any profits from the move.
Cracker Barrel also concedes that the population of consumers who drive electric cars is small at this point, but it matters to them that the drivers of traditional cars and other vehicles would definitely notice and appreciate what they are doing.
“Other than our efforts to remain relevant, we always aim to offer honest value and sincere hospitality; traits that have been continuously associated to us in the past,” said Sandra B. Cochran, president and CEO of Cracker Barrel. “As we take on this important leadership role of the EV Project, we are given a chance to continue in offering what our customers need and expect. We also value this meaningful participation in our country’s quest for energy independence.”
The move, according to Cochran, is also consistent with the family-dining chain’s 42-year history, as the first Cracker Barrel stores used to have gasoline pumps in front of their restaurants. Their founder, Dan Evins, was a casual Shell Oil retailer who was then searching for ways to sell more gas as well as serve food to his diners. “The installation of the Blink DC Fast Chargers is actually a nod to our history, and at the same time our gaze at the future as we cater to our present consumers and the next generation of customers who will constantly be hungry for the unique Cracker Barrel experience—outstanding service by top-of-the-line servers in smart restaurant uniforms, and good food.”