Cracker Barrel Old Country Store SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store managers to do a situational analysis of the company . It is a useful technique to understand the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is facing in its current business environment.

The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is one of the leading firms in its industry. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store maintains its prominent position in market by critically analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis a highly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the firm such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.

The SWOT Analysis framework enables an organization to identify the internal strategic factors such as -strengths and weaknesses, & external strategic factors such as - opportunities and threats. It leads to a 2X2 matrix – also called SWOT Matrix.

The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix helps the managers of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The core purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Cracker Barrel Old Country Store strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store – Internal Strategic Factors

As one of the leading firms in its industry, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has numerous strengths that help it to thrive in the market place. These strengths not only help it to protect the market share in existing markets but also help in penetrating new markets. Based on Fern Fort University extensive research – some of the strengths of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store are –

  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • High level of customer satisfaction – the company with its dedicated customer relationship management department has able to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction among present customers and good brand equity among the potential customers.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has built expertise at entering new markets and making success of them. The expansion has helped the organization to build new revenue stream and diversify the economic cycle risk in the markets it operates in.
  • Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
  • Successful track record of integrating complimentary firms through mergers & acquisition. It has successfully integrated number of technology companies in the past few years to streamline its operations and to build a reliable supply chain.

Weakness of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store – Internal Strategic Factors

Weakness are the areas where Cracker Barrel Old Country Store can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a company can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.

  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store needs to put more money in technology to integrate the processes across the board. Right now the investment in technologies is not at par with the vision of the company.
  • There are gaps in the product range sold by the company. This lack of choice can give a new competitor a foothold in the market.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • Not very good at product demand forecasting leading to higher rate of missed opportunities compare to its competitors. One of the reason why the days inventory is high compare to its competitors is that Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store are below the industry average.
  • The marketing of the products left a lot to be desired. Even though the product is a success in terms of sale but its positioning and unique selling proposition is not clearly defined which can lead to the attacks in this segment from the competitors.

Opportunities for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store – External Strategic Factors

  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • Organization’s core competencies can be a success in similar other products field. A comparative example could be - GE healthcare research helped it in developing better Oil drilling machines.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Cracker Barrel Old Country Store an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store to practices differentiated pricing strategy in the new market. It will enable the firm to maintain its loyal customers with great service and lure new customers through other value oriented propositions.
  • New customers from online channel – Over the past few years the company has invested vast sum of money into the online platform. This investment has opened new sales channel for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Cracker Barrel Old Country Store to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store to increase its profitability.

Threats Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Intense competition – Stable profitability has increased the number of players in the industry over last two years which has put downward pressure on not only profitability but also on overall sales.
  • New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store profitability.
  • No regular supply of innovative products – Over the years the company has developed numerous products but those are often response to the development by other players. Secondly the supply of new products is not regular thus leading to high and low swings in the sales number over period of time.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store   in those markets.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Although the SWOT analysis is widely used as a strategic planning tool, the analysis does have its share of limitations.

  • Certain capabilities or factors of an organization can be both a strength and weakness at the same time. This is one of the major limitations of SWOT analysis . For example changing environmental regulations can be both a threat to company it can also be an opportunity in a sense that it will enable the company to be on a level playing field or at advantage to competitors if it able to develop the products faster than the competitors.
  • SWOT does not show how to achieve a competitive advantage, so it must not be an end in itself.
  • The matrix is only a starting point for a discussion on how proposed strategies could be implemented. It provided an evaluation window but not an implementation plan based on strategic competitiveness of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
  • SWOT is a static assessment - analysis of status quo with few prospective changes. As circumstances, capabilities, threats, and strategies change, the dynamics of a competitive environment may not be revealed in a single matrix.
  • SWOT analysis may lead the firm to overemphasize a single internal or external factor in formulating strategies. There are interrelationships among the key internal and external factors that SWOT does not reveal that may be important in devising strategies.

Weighted SWOT Analysis of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

In light of the above mentioned limitations of the SWOT analysis / matrix, corporate managers decided to provide weightage to each internal strength and weakness of the firm. Organizations also assess the likelihood of events taking place in the coming future and how strong their impact could be on company's performance.

This method is called Weighted SWOT analysis. It is better than doing simplistic SWOT analysis because with Weighted SWOT Analysis Cracker Barrel Old Country Store managers can focus on the most critical factors and discount the non-important one. It also solves the long list problem where organizations ends up making a long list but none of the factors deemed too critical.

Limitation of Weighted SWOT analysis of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

This approach also suffers from one major drawback - it focus on individual importance of factor rather than how they are collectively important and impact the business holistically.

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SWOT Worksheet & Template

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References / Citations & Bibliography

  • M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
  • A. D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962)
  • O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975);
  • L. Wrigley, Divisional Autonomy and Diversification (PhD, Harvard Business School, 1970)
  • R. E. White, Generic Business Strategies, Organizational Context and Performance: An Empirical Investigation, Strategic Management Journal7 (1986)