The Iconic Discontinued Cracker Barrel Meal We May Never See Again

unwrapped cracker barrel campfire meal
unwrapped cracker barrel campfire meal - Facebook/Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

It's hard to imagine Cracker Barrel without its classic dishes like Biscuits N' Gravy or Country Fried Steak. For many years, customers could also count on getting the restaurant's Campfire Meals, which were introduced to the menu in 1997 and brought back seasonally during the summer months.

Over the years, Cracker Barrel offered different types of Campfire Meals, including Campfire Beef, Campfire Chicken, Campfire Beans, and Campfire Mixed Grill, which consisted of both beef and sausage. What made this seasonal menu item so special was that it was reminiscent of a meal you'd cook over a campfire. The meat as well as sides such as corn on the cob, potatoes, and carrots, were all slow-cooked and served wrapped in a foil packet.

Though Campfire Meals attracted Cracker Barrel customers for many years, the restaurant decided to discontinue them. Unfortunately for fans of the dish, the last time it was ever available was the summer of 2018. When the seasonal menu was released the following summer, Campfire Meals were noticeably absent, with Southern Summer Sides taking its place.

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Why Did Cracker Barrel Discontinue Campfire Meals?

exterior of cracker barrel restaurant
exterior of cracker barrel restaurant - Jetcityimage/Getty Images

Cracker Barrel has previously referred to its Campfire Meals as a "fan favorite," so it may seem odd that the company would discontinue them. But considering Campfire Meals had been around since 1997, it's possible that the popularity died down in its final years. In 2017, Cracker Barrel Vice President of Marketing Don Hoffman was already expressing concerns about "menu fatigue" during Campfire Meals season. "We're changing the configuration about halfway through so it will give guests another reason to try it," he told Nation's Restaurant News at the time.

In its final year offering Campfire Meals, Cracker Barrel had invested heavily in advertising, and even launched a "Campfire Confessionals" vlog series featuring country music artists. To gain the attention of younger consumers, Cracker Barrel also promoted Campfire Meals on Snapchat and other social media platforms along with the hashtag "#GetCampfiredUp."

Unfortunately, these efforts didn't pay off. At the end of the year, Cracker Barrel President and CEO Sandra B. Cochran reported a decline in sales starting in May, which aligned with the Campfire Meals season that year. She attributed this decline to both the menu and a marketing promotion that failed to generate the expected traffic and sales, likely referring to the Campfire Meals one. After that, Campfire Meals were never brought back.

Will Cracker Barrel Ever Bring Back Campfire Meals?

cracker barrel campfire chicken meal
cracker barrel campfire chicken meal

Sometimes restaurants bring back discontinued menu items in response to fans starting petitions and making Facebook groups. But while fans are still mourning Cracker Barrel's discontinued chicken salad sandwich, there doesn't seem to be nearly as many customers asking for the Campfire Meals. This suggests that a Campfire Meals comeback likely wouldn't be very profitable, and Cracker Barrel probably wants to avoid repeating past failures. A handful of customers asked about it in the comments section of a Cracker Barrel Facebook post from 2019, to which Cracker Barrel only responded with not-so-promising comments like "Our campfire meals will not be returning to our menu" and "Thanks for being a fan of Campfire Meals. This year, we've got a new meal for you to try!"

In the past, Cracker Barrel did sell a Campfire Meal seasoning in its gift shop, however, it's no longer available, at least on the online store. Luckily there are other campfire-style seasonings from different brands, and you can pretty easily find a Campfire Meal copycat recipe online. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that you'll be able to enjoy a real Campfire Meal at Cracker Barrel in the foreseeable future.

Read the original article on Daily Meal