Leadership

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.

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