Holler & Dash restaurant
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Holler & Dash

Cracker Barrel goes fast casual
Where: Homewood, Ala.

Another chain is trying to broaden its reach and capitalize on a prime segment for growth by launching an entirely new fast-casual concept. But unlike previous attempts by Taco Bell and KFC, this time the pitch comes from one of the full-service guys.

Family-dining chain Cracker Barrel opened Holler & Dash, its 60-seat limited-service breakfast and lunch spot in March. Breaking from its down-home, blue-plate-special mold, Chief Operating Officer Mike Chissler says Holler & Dash has added what it calls “a few new wrinkles.”

By that, he means technology. The restaurant has an iPad-based POS system, plus a self-ordering kiosk for guests who want to skip the line. These features, plus its location in new market Homewood, Ala.—a small, city-adjacent community near Birmingham—helps Holler & Dash target younger diners, particularly millennials.

Its menu is rooted in traditional Southern fare, especially biscuit sandwiches, with a focus on quality ingredients and conscious sourcing, Director of Culinary Brandon Frohne says. Handcrafting also plays a part. Biscuits are mixed by hand in the restaurant’s open kitchen, and a craft soda program riffs on fresh ingredients. “We can change [sodas] easily with whatever’s in season,” Frohne explains. Some current selections: strawberry lemongrass and key lime pie with toasted marshmallow.

While plans are to expand, the company says it wants to ensure the prototype works before it considers development options. It’s also toying with tweaks: For example, because it’s open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., management is considering co-opting the dining room as an evening event space. Overall, early signs are positive. “We really like how this is working,” Chissler says.


Fun Facts

  • Average check is $10-$12
  • Number of seats: 60
  • Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Number of biscuit sandwiches on the menu: 11

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