LEBANON, TN--(Marketwire - March 3, 2011) - Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® developed its Utility Conservation Program to provide its local restaurants with the tools they need to help reduce their usage of water, gas, and electricity. And, most of those tools are based on straight-forward conservation steps that homeowners can also use to achieve real energy cost savings.

"The program that we developed helps all of our stores control their energy use -- and of course their costs," said DeAnna Fry, Strategic Sourcing Manager, Services at Cracker Barrel. "While we know that everyone isn't dealing with biscuit oven and potato oven equipment sequencing, we realized that many of our guidelines could also help members of the communities where our restaurants are located. By sharing these tips and ideas, we hope to multiply the impact that our initiative has on energy conservation nationwide and help our customers and neighbors cut their energy costs, too."

Here are some of the highlights of the Cracker Barrel Utility Conservation Program:

Turn It Off!
It sounds simple, but Cracker Barrel emphasizes that one of the most positive actions that employees in their stores -- and you at home or in your business -- can take to conserve energy is to turn off lights and other appliances that draw power when they are not in use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), this is especially true with incandescent light bulbs, but also applies to fluorescent bulbs if you plan to leave the light off for at least 15 minutes.

Turn It Down!
Cracker Barrel recommends a maximum setting of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher temperatures as required by the local Health Departments, for their store water heaters, but the DOE says that most residential water heaters can be set at 120 degrees F. The lower setting saves money (there's a 3% - 5% savings in energy costs for every 10 degree F reduction in water temperature according to the DOE) and it also helps prolong the life of the appliance by slowing mineral buildup and corrosion in the heater and water pipes.

Aim for Efficiency
Cracker Barrel employs HVAC contractors to program thermostats that help each store maintain a comfortable environment for guests and employees, but you can take steps at home, too. About 56% of the energy use in your home goes to heating and cooling, according to the DOE. Install an "automatic set-back" thermostat to lower your room temperature by 10-15 degrees F for eight hours a day (while you're sleeping), and you'll save 10% per year on your heating and cooling costs. Also, follow Cracker Barrel's lead and be certain to direct ceiling fan rotation UP in the winter, to keep the warm air that rises to your ceiling circulating throughout the room, and DOWN in the summer to create a cooling breeze. And, don't forget to close fireplace dampers when the fireplace is not in use.

Conserve Water
March 14th - 20th is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual "Fix A Leak" Week, but you can save money and our nation's resources by focusing, as Cracker Barrel does, on finding and repairing water leaks immediately all year long. Cracker Barrel employees know that one leaky faucet that drips a mere 20 times a minute will waste almost three gallons of water a day -- or about 85 gallons a month. According to the EPA, water leaks can account for more 10,000 gallons of water wasted each year in the average home - enough to fill a backyard pool. And, fixing this type of common leak promptly can save homeowners more than 10% on their water bills. Visit the EPA's Fix A Leak Week website for water conservation tips and a Water Savings Calculator.

"Our goal is to offer our guests delicious, high quality food at a great price, and our Utility Conservation Program helps us do just that, because it helps us control our costs," says Fry. "We know that these tips work to help lower energy bills in our restaurants, and we hope that homeowners everywhere -- and the environment -- will benefit from our experience."

For more information about Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, please visit http://www.crackerbarrel.com.

About Cracker Barrel
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants. Guests are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and shopping that's surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America's country heritage...all at a fair price. The restaurant serves up delicious, home-style country food such as meatloaf and homemade chicken n' dumplins as well as its signature biscuits using an old family recipe. The authentic old country retail store is fun to shop and offers unique gifts and self-indulgences. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) was established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn. and operates 599 company-owned locations in 42 states. Every Cracker Barrel unit is open seven days a week with hours Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. For more information, visit crackerbarrel.com.