Cracker Barrel and Punch Bowl Social Enter into Strategic Relationship

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) and Denver-based Punch Bowl Social today announced they have entered into a strategic relationship, with Cracker Barrel taking a non-controlling position in the concept. Under the terms of the agreement, Cracker Barrel will invest up to approximately $140 million to acquire its initial non-controlling stake and to provide growth capital for future development, although a portion of this amount is anticipated to be offset by third-party financing, which Punch Bowl Social is presently arranging. The agreement includes provisions for the Company to potentially acquire a controlling or full ownership position in Punch Bowl Social in the future.

Founded in 2012, Punch Bowl Social is an award-winning experiential food and beverage concept offering a compelling social experience, pairing a made-from-scratch food and craft beverage program with social gaming in a design-forward environment. Punch Bowl Social’s large-format locations provides a unique and authentic atmosphere through distinctive, engaging design. It currently has 17 locations across 12 states and plans to open 11 additional units by the end of calendar year 2020. Punch Bowl Social is led by founder and CEO Robert Thompson, an entrepreneur with over twenty years of  experience owning and operating large-format experiential food and beverage concepts. Thompson and a seasoned management team will continue to oversee day-to-day operations.

The investment in Punch Bowl Social allows Cracker Barrel to enter a new and expanding experiential food and beverage segment, providing another growth vehicle to deliver shareholder value. Additionally, the strategic relationship provides Punch Bowl Social with additional resources to drive continued growth.  

“We’re excited to partner with Robert Thompson and his talented Punch Bowl Social management team to support such a differentiated, high-growth concept. Our investment in Punch Bowl Social is another example of our commitment to driving shareholder value, as it gives us an opportunity to enter a new category with exposure to new guests and demographics while also leveraging our strengths and the similarities between the two companies.  Cracker Barrel and Punch Bowl Social are both highly experiential brands that emphasize quality food and beverage, hospitality and fun. We love what Punch Bowl Social has built and are excited about helping them continue to grow,” said Sandy Cochran, CEO of Cracker Barrel.

Punch Bowl Social founder and CEO Robert Thompson said, “This relationship represents a tremendous opportunity for the entire Punch Bowl Social family, and we’re thrilled to partner with Cracker Barrel. Their high-volume, multi-location expertise will help us continue to realize our vision for growth across the country. Our continued goal is to be an experiential millennial and Gen Z lifestyle brand that creates authentic, social guest experiences. Having Cracker Barrel provide growth capital and strategic resources sets us up for the next exciting chapter for Punch Bowl Social.”