LEBANON, Tenn., June 1, 2004 – LAWFUEL – The president and chief opera…

LEBANON, Tenn., June 1, 2004 – LAWFUEL – The president and chief
operating officer of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., today praised law
enforcement officials in Virginia for the investigation that resulted in the
arrest of a woman who tried to extort money from the company by claiming she
found a mouse in her soup.

“Because of the efforts of the dedicated law enforcement officers in
Newport News, this woman has been exposed in her effort to extort money from
our company,” Donald M. Turner, president and COO of the Lebanon, Tennessee-
based restaurant chain, said in a statement. “Our company owes a debt of
gratitude to Newport News Commonwealth Attorney Howard E. Gwynn, his Chief
Deputy Shannon O. McEwen and his staff, and Police Captain H. Marvin Evans,
and his detectives and officers, for their successful investigation and arrest
of this woman and her son.”

The woman, Carla Patterson of Hampton, Va., was having lunch at the
company’s restaurant with her two sons, when she claimed to have discovered a
dead mouse in her soup. Store management immediately isolated the soup and the
company stopped serving it nationally. Over the next two weeks, Mrs. Patterson
had repeated contact with Cracker Barrel’s Home Office and ultimately she and
her son demanded a large sum of money in exchange for photographs of the mouse
and a public confession that her son had planted the dead animal.

“We took this matter very seriously right from the start,” Turner said,
“and conducted a complete investigation that included inspections by the
health department and laboratory tests on the mouse. The health and safety of
our guests and employees are of primary concern, and so we had to find out the
truth. And the truth is that our extensive quality controls and high
standards in food preparation and service make it virtually impossible for
something like this to happen unless it is the result of fraud.”

“These false allegations were damaging to the outstanding record for
excellent food and service that Cracker Barrel has earned with its customers
over the years,” Turner said. “Our store managers and employees work very
hard every day to provide our guests with the best possible food and service,”
Turner added. “Employees at the store targeted by the Pattersons for their
extortion attempt, and our employees throughout the nation, were upset by the
publicity given to this woman’s claims.”

Cracker Barrel’s employees around the country endured three weeks of
negative publicity and jokes as the company worked with law enforcement
officials to properly expose the fraud and clear the company’s reputation.
Today’s arrest of the Pattersons for extortion validates the efforts by all
Cracker Barrel employees to continue providing excellent food and service,
even during challenging times.

“The quality of our food and service — and the health and safety of our
guests and employees — always have been and always will be the highest
priorities at Cracker Barrel,” Turner said. “Furthermore, we will do what it
takes to prosecute people who make false and inflammatory claims that damage
Cracker Barrel’s good name.”

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