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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 14, 201905:20 AM EST

Maple Street CEO says ‘nothing changes’ with food, people or operations

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Cracker Barrel Old Country Store paid $36 million in cash for the Orange Park-based chain, founded in 2012 with one restaurant.

By Mark Basch and Karen Brune Mathis

Maple Street Biscuit Company Inc. CEO Scott Moore said Saturday that customers won’t see changes in recipes, hours or operations now that Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. owns the restaurant company.

“For now, you can come into Maple Street and get the same stuff from the same people doing it the same way,” Moore said a day after Cracker Barrel announced it paid $36 million in cash for Maple Street.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store paid $36 million for Maple Street Biscuit Company Inc., which has 33 restaurants in seven states.

Moore and Gus Evans founded Maple Street in Jacksonville in 2012 with a single restaurant in San Marco.

It has grown to 33 locations in seven states operated by 600 employees. It operates for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, closing on Sundays.

The menu is based on a biscuit recipe that co-founder Gus Evans created when he and Moore started the company. Items include biscuit sandwiches and biscuits and gravy, waffles, oatmeal, bowls, salads and sides.

The company moved its headquarters last year from Downtown Jacksonville to Orange Park.

Lebanon, Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel said Moore will remain CEO of the Maple Street company. Moore said the leadership team remains in place.

The publicly traded company operates 660 Cracker Barrel restaurants in 45 states.

The company started another chain called Holler & Dash Biscuit House in 2016, which has seven locations. Cracker Barrel said the Holler & Dash units will be converted into Maple Street restaurants.

That conversion and the start of plans for Maple Street expansion will take place into 2020.

“We are still looking at what that looks like. In six months, I will have a much better idea,” Moore said.

Moore said in the Friday news release the acquisition by Cracker Barrel will help Maple Street grow.

“Our brands share many similarities such as scratch cooking and an emphasis on hospitality,” he said.

Maple Street’s concept is “comfort good with a modern twist and gracious service.” It considers its locations to be community stores and its managers as community leaders.

“We call every store by the community it’s in. The coffee mug has that community (name) on it,” Moore said Saturday.

“We have long admired Maple Street Biscuit Company with its emphasis on made-from-scratch food and hospitality,” Cracker Barrel CEO Sandra Cochran said in the release.

She said the company’s Holler & Dash restaurants showed the breakfast and lunch fast casual segment is an attractive market, which led to its interest in Maple Street.

“It is a proven brand with attractive unit economics and strong growth potential, and it is positioned to become a leader in this category,” she said.

“Cracker Barrel has always been focused on where their growth opportunities are and they had been watching Maple Street for years,” Moore said.

“Nothing changes, except they are there to support us and provide us resources. They have expertise that we don’t have, and they are willing to share that with us to help do this well,” he said.

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