Jennifer Tate is stepping down as Cracker Barrel's CMO

The former Olive Garden marketing chief will seek other opportunities, Cracker Barrel said. Her departure was announced two weeks after the transition to a new CEO began.
Cracker Barrel has been targeting a young clientele under Tate. | Photo: Shutterstock

Jennifer Tate will step down as CMO and SVP of Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores at the end of this week to pursue other opportunities, the company said Monday in a securities filing.

The announcement comes two weeks after the family-dining operation’s next CEO joined the company in anticipation of moving up to the top job on Nov. 1. Julie Masino joined Cracker Barrel Aug. 7 as CEO-elect from Yum Brands, where she served as president of Taco Bell’s international operations.

She will succeed Sandy Cochran, one of the longest-serving CEOs in the restaurant business. Cochran is remaining in the top job through October to help Masino with the transition, Cracker Barrel said.

Tate joined Cracker Barrel almost exactly three years ago as CMO. She joined the family-dining specialist after working in marketing for 10 years for Darden Restaurants, the parent of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. She eventually moved up to chief marketer for the Italian chain.

Earlier, she was a senior brand manager for Pizza Hut, one of Yum’s brands, and a brand manager for Frito-Lay, once a sister operation within Pepsico to what is now Yum.

Cracker Barrel’s core business is its 660-store namesake chain, which features country-style fare in a nostalgic general-store-like setting.

The company also operates Maple Street Biscuit Co., a breakfast-and-lunch operation that appeals to a clientele younger than what’s typically found within a Cracker Barrel.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Older brands try new tricks in their quest to stay relevant

Reality Check: A number of mature restaurant chains are out to prove that age is just a number.


At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.


How the shift to counter service has changed Steak n Shake's profitability

The Bottom Line: Sardar Biglari, chairman of the chain’s owner Biglari Holdings, details how the addition of kiosks and counter service has transformed restaurants.


More from our partners