Is your all-day breakfast or country fixin’ dinner in danger? Cracker Barrel fans in Alabama are curious about closing rumors.
Published 7:48 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023
In October and November, hundreds of online advertisements were displayed to Facebook and Instagram users with a photo of a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant, claiming all the locations were closing.
All ads led to an article on the Investigating.com website, titled “Last Call: These Chain Stores are Closing Locations in 2023.”
The article provided a numbered list of 216 businesses, with a few paragraphs below each business’ name.
No. 163 listed Cracker Barrel, “Store Closures: TBC.”
This portion of the article reads, “Cracker Barrel has been serving customers since its inception in 1969, much to the delight of many Americans across the country. The eatery has over 600 locations, but rumors started circulating in recent years that the chain could be looking at closures.
“However, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Cracker Barrel wouldn’t be the first popular chain to close under-performing locations in the current climate. So, while there are no closures currently planned, it might be wise to watch this space.”
Therefore, the ads were clickbait to get readers to a lengthy article, and the rumor that Cracker Barrel was closing all (or any) of its locations was false.
“The reason why these kinds of ads and articles exist is usually for something called advertising arbitrage,” according to Jordan Liles of Yahoo! Finance. “Advertising arbitrage is a strategy in which an advertiser hopes to make more money on ads displayed in a lengthy article than it would cost to display an initial clickbait ad meant to attract users to the article.”
Liles said a Cracker Barrel spokesperson told him via email, “At this time, we do not have any store closures planned. We remain fully committed to serving our guests and communities in our more than 660 stores across 45 states.”