Sardar Biglari is again trying to secure representation on the board of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, this time by nominating a restaurant industry peer.
Biglari, whose main holding company owns Steak ’n Shake, in April said he was mulling another run for a Cracker Barrel board seat because he was dissatisfied with the company’s handling of its investment in the Punch Bowl Social eatertainment concept. Lebanon-based Cracker Barrel last year invested $133 million in Punch Bowl Social but in March wrote off that entire amount after the brand’s main lender pushed Cracker Barrel CEO Sandy Cochran and CFO Jill Golder for debt guarantees.
On Thursday, Biglari delivered a letter to Cracker Barrel saying he is nominating Rick Barbrick to represent him on the board. Barbrick is president, COO and co-CEO of The Briad Group, a New Jersey holding company for restaurants and hotels as well as retail center. Barbrick was president and CEO of the former Avado Brands, which owned Don Pablo’s and the brewpub concept Hops, before starting at Briad in 2008.
Cracker Barrel on Friday said its board’s nominating and corporate governance committee will evaluate Barbrick’s candidacy “and make a recommendation to shareholders in due course.” The company last year sent out its proxy statement in mid-October and held its annual shareholders’ meeting on Nov. 21.
Biglari has several times sought a Cracker Barrel board seat since building his stake in 2011 but has failed to receive nearly enough support from other investors. Since late 2018, he has trimmed his stake from nearly 20 percent — just shy of the Cracker Barrel board’s poison pill threshold — to nearly 9 percent.
Shares of Cracker Barrel (Ticker: CBRL) were up about 1.5 percent to $118.70 in late-morning trading Friday. They started 2020 around $155 and tumbled all the way to about $55 during March’s market selloff.