Two days ago, Cracker Barrel restaurants removed its Duck Dynasty items from its store shelves in the wake of inflammatory comments by the reality television show patriarch Phil Robertson.
Well, not so fast.
While Cracker Barrel had been one of the first marketing partner of the show to make a public move after Robertson’s offensive comments about blacks and gays, the firm’s course correction came after waves of protest bubbled up through social media. That reaction included more than 30,000 comments on the restaurant chain’s original post announcing the removal of “selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.”
A popular comment in response: “After you are done removing the selected products, go ahead and remove a bunch of tables and chairs,” wrote Jody Kixon you won’t be needing them any more.”
Cracker Barrel’s initial decision to remove Duck Dynasty products while retaining Duck Commander products may have sent a mixed message. Fans loyal to the Robertson family looking to boycott Duck Dynasty products may have viewed the move favorably, since the show’s network, A&E, wouldn’t be expected to share brand revenue on sales of the family’s Duck Commander products. Others, plainly, viewed the move as a repudiation of Robertson’s comments.
In the company’s statement Sunday, Cracker Barrel said “We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.”
Cracker Barrel operates about 625 stores in 42 states, but most of its stores are located in the southeast.