You’ll be relieved to learn that Cracker Barrel is not closing down all locations nationally. But Cracker Barrel is permanently closing all locations across the Portland Area in Oregon. Why? Company spokespeople have cited financial challenges associated with the pandemic. Of course, the Portland area has also been plagued by other major businesses leaving the area due to vandalism and theft that cuts into the bottom line of any company.

In this story, we dive into greater detail around the business challenges of Cracker Barrel in the Portland area and where you can thankfully still find open locations. Let’s take a look at the full story.

Where is Cracker Barrel permanently closing locations?

As mentioned above, there has been news of Cracker Barrel closing some of their locations in 2023. So far, these locations are:

  • Bend, Oregon
  • Tulatin, Oregon
  • Beaverton, Oregon

Of course, Cracker Barrel has closed some locations beyond the borders of Oregon as well. In recent years, the company has closed at least 10 locations, including 2 in Mississippi, and 1 each in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas.

Why is Cracker Barrel closing locations?

Cracker Barrel cited the pandemic as the reason for closing their locations.

“As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate the performance of our stores, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our guests and our business. With that, we are saddened that we have been unable to overcome the impact the pandemic had on our business and have made the difficult decision to close the Beaverton, Tualatin, and Bend locations.” Cracker Barrel said in a statement.

In the same statement, they mentioned how grateful they were to their guests and employees and that they are now focusing in helping their employees impacted by the closing of their stores.

Cracker Barrel menu prices

I love the Cracker Barrel menu.

Of course, Cracker Barrel is not the only restaurant chain that has been closing locations. Other chains that have announced closures in recent months include Applebee’s, Hardee’s, and IHOP. Here are a few examples of other chain restaurants that have made the difficult decision to close locations and some of the contributing factors.

  • Hardee’s: A major franchisee declared bankruptcy, leading to the closure 39 restaurants in 2023. The franchisee faced traffic declines during the pandemic and struggled with elevated food and labor costs.
  • Steak ‘n Shake: Struggled with service and quality complaints and came close to bankruptcy in 2021. The chain has closed more than 200 units since 2018.
  • Applebee’s: The chain has been shrinking, with plans to close more locations in 2023 due to underperformance and higher development costs.

In short, it has been a year full of challenges for many legacy chain restaurants. There’s a combination of labor shortages, high food inflation, and other financial factors that have presented headwinds to this sector.

Other Businesses Leaving the Portland Area

If you noticed the list of restaurants closing above, most of them are in Oregon. Portland is a major city in Oregon with a population of more than 650,000 according to the 2020 Census and there are numerous businesses closing in the area:

  • Walmart (Hayden Meadows and Eastport Plaza)
  • Nike Store
  • Rains PDX
  • REI (Pearl District)

Why are so many businesses closing around Portland?

As cited by Cracker Barrel, one of the reasons they closed down was because of the pandemic. They weren’t able to recover from their losses hence the reason they decided to shut their doors in Oregon for good.

But in other businesses’ cases, the reason for their closing is due to the shoplifting, vandalism and other crimes happening in their area. For instance, Walmart cited that theft has been happening at an all-time high in their stores.

“Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” CEO Doug McMillion said he also added that it might lead to prices being higher or stores will close if authorities don’t do anything about it. Walmart also cited that stores that closures happen because their store do not mean their financial expectations.

Cracker Barrel logo

The official logo of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

It was the same for Rains PDX, a clothing shop in Portland. They posted a note on their store that read “Our city is in peril. Small businesses (and large) cannot sustain doing business, in our city’s current state. We have no protection, or recourse, against the criminal behavior that goes unpunished. Do not be fooled into thinking that insurance companies cover losses. We have sustained 15 break-ins … we have not received any financial reimbursement since the 3rd.”

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As for outdoor retail shop REI, it was more of a landlord issue. The company cited they have “outgrown” their space but were not able to reach a proper settlement with their landlord. Other crimes reported around downtown Portland that impact small business includes rampant drug use, vandalism, and littering.

Where can you still find Cracker Barrel locations?

The news about Cracker Barrel closing down some of their Oregon locations is nothing to be worried about since there are still options outside of the state. The one in Medford is still open but can be a few hours’ drive away from Portland.

To know which Cracker Barrel locations are open, you can visit their website and search the location nearest you here.

It can be depressing when a classic and well-loved restaurant that you’ve known for years decides to close down in your area. But Cracker Barrel is opening up more stores elsewhere so it doesn’t look like the entire business is down for good. For instance, they’re opening up a restaurant in a Fort Worth outlet mall. There’s also one opening in Myrtle Beach in 2023.

Specialty pancakes at Cracker Barrel.

One can also get their Cracker Barrel pancake fix through their virtual kitchens and delivery only business. Cracker Barrel is planning to expand their Pancake Kitchen through DoorDash or Uber Eats so you don’t have to physically drive to a Cracker Barrel location (unless that’s something you enjoy doing).

The pandemic may have brought most business down but some are starting to rise back up again. I hope that Cracker Barrel is one of those that can fight through the inflation woes and continue to provide diners classic American fare for generations to come.

What is Cracker Barrel?

Cracker Barrel started in 1969 by Danny Evins. The founder wanted Cracker Barrel to be a stopover for travelers offering food that wasn’t considered fast food and gas. He also added a gift shop so travelers can also shop for novelty trinkets and items. The first location opened in Lebanon, Tennessee serving Country Ham, grits, biscuits, and other Southern specialties.

At present, Cracker Barrel’s menu has grown to include all-day breakfasts, chicken tenders and shrimp platters, meatloaf, country fried steak, and chicken and dumplings.

Cracker Barrel has over 660 stores in 45 states and territories. All Cracker Barrel restaurants have the same design. They have a front porch with wooden rocking chairs lined outside. They also have stone fireplaces and a vintage interior. The company has been publicly traded since 1981.