More Thought Goes Into Decorating A Cracker Barrel Than You May Think

Like many restaurants, Cracker Barrel has a distinctive aesthetic, and it's apparent before you even step foot in the restaurant. The entrance is designed like the front porch of a house in the American South, and when you walk through the front doors, you find yourself in a gift shop filled with a wide selection of country-themed home goods. Make your way through the gift shop, and you'll eventually find the dining area, which adheres to the same aesthetic.

The format of every Cracker Barrel is basically the same. However, if you've dined at more than one, you'll notice that the decor in the dining area of the restaurant differs from location to location. The eclectic assortment of items on display has even spurred a TikTok trend, where customers will bring in their own framed pictures and sneakily add them to the wall. The joke is that the pictures will be perfectly disguised among the other seemingly random framed photos and items in the restaurant. However, what most don't realize is thatĀ the decor isn't random at all. In fact, a lot goes into the decoration, and more likely than not, the added pictures eventually get noticed by staff.

Cracker Barrel's decorations are all antiques

In the store portion of Cracker Barrel, all the home decor items that you see for sale are usually designed to look old-fashioned, but it's generally understood that they aren't actual antiques. You might assume that the same can be said for the decor inside the restaurant, but that's not actually the case. As it turns out, all of those pictures and objects really are as old as they look.

Though Cracker Barrel once sourced all of its decorations from antique shop owners Kathleen and Don Singleton, since the 1960s, the restaurant's collection has grown to include over 90,000 antiques, which are now stored in a 26,000-square-foot warehouse. But despite every item technically being an antique, they aren't exactly worthy of being in a museum, as the value of each one ranges from $35 to $75, The New York Times reported in 2003. Still, interested parties have been known to ask about how to source various less-familiar finds for themselves.

Cracker Barrel's decoration process

With so many antiques at its disposal, Cracker Barrel could technically just grab a bunch of them from its warehouse in Tennessee every time it opens up a new location. Instead, the restaurant chainĀ has a dedicated decor team that curates a unique selection of items. But before they get to decorating a new restaurant, they extensively examine and investigate the history of the area, only picking out objects and pictures that match.

There are a number of items that are always included regardless of where the new Cracker Barrel will be located. These include a wood-burning fireplace and a deer head above it, horseshoes hung at the entrance, a cookstove in the gift shop, an ox yoke above the front door, and a traffic light by the restrooms. In addition to these staples, the decor team carefully decides on about 1,000 other antiques to display in the restaurant before it officially opens doors.