Risk Factors Dashboard

Once a year, publicly traded companies issue a comprehensive report of their business, called a 10-K. A component mandated in the 10-K is the ‘Risk Factors’ section, where companies disclose any major potential risks that they may face. This dashboard highlights all major changes and additions in new 10K reports, allowing investors to quickly identify new potential risks and opportunities.

Risk Factors - CBRL

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

RAW MATERIALS SOURCES AND AVAILABILITY

Essential restaurant supplies and raw materials are generally available from a number of sources. Generally, we are not dependent upon single sources of supplies or raw materials. However, in our stores, certain branded items are single source products or product lines. However, in our stores, certain branded items are single source products or product lines. Our ability to maintain consistent quality throughout our store system depends in part upon our ability to acquire food products and related items from reliable sources. When the supply of certain products is uncertain or prices are expected to rise significantly, we may enter into purchase contracts or purchase bulk quantities for future use. When the supply of certain products is uncertain or prices are expected to rise significantly, we may enter into purchase contracts or purchase bulk quantities for future use.

Adequate alternative sources of supply, as well as the ability to adjust menus if needed, are believed to exist for substantially all of our restaurant products. Our retail supply chain generally involves longer lead-times and, often, more remote sources of product, including the People’s Republic of China, and most of our retail product is distributed to our stores through a single distribution center. Our retail supply chain generally involves longer lead-times and, often, more remote sources of product, including the People’s Republic of China, and most of our retail product is distributed to our stores through a single distribution center. Although disruption of our retail supply chain could be difficult to overcome, we continuously evaluate the potential for disruptions and ways to mitigate such disruptions should they occur. Although disruption of our retail supply chain could be difficult to overcome, we continuously evaluate the potential for disruptions and ways to mitigate such disruptions should they occur.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION

We are subject to various federal, state and local laws affecting our business, including areas of food safety, minimum wage increases, health care, zoning requirements, preparation and sale, among others, of food and alcoholic beverages, information security, and environmental matters. Each of our stores must comply with licensing requirements and regulations by a number of governmental authorities and we have not been significantly affected by any delay in obtaining these licenses. Federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations have not historically had a significant impact on our operations; however, we cannot predict the effect of possible future environmental legislation or regulations on our operations. Federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations have not historically had a significant impact on our operations; however, we cannot predict the effect of possible future environmental legislation or regulations on our operations.

TRADEMARKS

We deem the various Cracker Barrel and MSBC trademarks and service marks that we own to be of substantial value. Our policy is to obtain federal registration of trademarks and other intellectual property whenever possible and to pursue vigorously any infringement of our trademarks and service marks. Our policy is to obtain federal registration of trademarks and other intellectual property whenever possible and to pursue vigorously any infringement of our trademarks and service marks.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

While research and development is important to us, these expenditures have not been material due to the nature of the restaurant and retail industries.

SEASONAL ASPECTS

Historically, our revenue and profits have been lower in the first and third fiscal quarters and higher in the second and fourth fiscal quarters. We attribute these variations primarily to the holiday shopping season and the summer vacation and travel season. We attribute these variations primarily to the holiday shopping season and the summer vacation and travel season. Our gift shop sales, which are made substantially to our restaurant guests, historically have been highest in our second quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season. Historically, interstate tourist traffic and the propensity to dine out have been much higher during the summer months, thereby generally contributing to higher profits in the Company’s fourth quarter. Historically, interstate tourist traffic and the propensity to dine out have been much higher during the summer months, thereby generally contributing to higher profits in the Company’s fourth quarter. We also generally open additional new stores throughout the year. Therefore, the results of operations for any interim period cannot be considered indicative of the operating results for an entire year.

WORKING CAPITAL

In the restaurant industry, substantially all sales are either for cash or third-party credit card. Therefore, like many restaurant companies, we are able to, and often do, operate with negative working capital. Restaurant inventories purchased through our principal food distributor are on terms of net zero days, while other restaurant inventories purchased locally generally are financed through trade credit at terms of 30 days or less. Because of our gift shop, which have a lower product turnover than our restaurants, we carry larger inventories than many other companies in the restaurant industry. Because of our gift shop, which have a lower product turnover than our restaurants, we carry larger inventories than many other companies in the restaurant industry. Retail inventories are generally financed through trade credit at terms of 60 days or less. These various trade terms are aided by rapid product turnover of the restaurant inventory. Employees generally are paid on weekly or semi-monthly schedules in arrears of hours worked except for bonuses that are paid either quarterly or annually in arrears. Many other operating expenses have normal trade terms and certain expenses, such as certain taxes and some benefits, are deferred for longer periods of time.

ITEM 1A.
RISK FACTORS

Investing in our securities involves a degree of risk. Persons buying our securities should carefully consider the risks described below and the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings that we make from time to time with the SEC, including our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. Persons buying our securities should carefully consider the risks described below and the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings that we make from time to time with the SEC, including our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. If any of the following risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected. If any of the following risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be materially adversely affected. In any such case, the trading price of our securities could decline and you could lose all or part of your investment. In any such case, the trading price of our securities could decline and you could lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Related to Macroeconomic and Industry Conditions

We have experienced and continue to experience inflationary conditions with respect to the cost for food, ingredients, retail merchandise, transportation, distribution, labor and utilities, and we may not be able to increase prices or implement operational improvements sufficient to fully offset inflationary pressures on such costs, which may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

The strength of our revenues and results of operations are dependent upon, among other things, the price and availability of food, ingredients, retail merchandise, transportation, distribution, labor and utilities. In fiscal 2023, we faced significant inflationary pressures. Fluctuations in economic conditions, weather, supply chain disruptions, freight efficiency, demand and other factors also affect the availability, quality and cost of the ingredients and retail merchandise that we buy. Changes in global demand for corn, wheat and dairy products have caused and could continue to cause volatility in the feed costs for poultry and livestock. Changes in global demand for corn, wheat and dairy products could cause volatility in the feed costs for poultry and livestock. Operating margins for our restaurants are subject to changes in the price and availability of food commodities, including beef, pork, chicken, dairy and produce. The effect of, introduction of, or changes to tariffs or exchange rates on imported retail products or food products could increase our costs and possibly affect the supply of those products. The effect of, introduction of, or changes to tariffs or exchange rates on imported retail products or food products could increase our costs and possibly affect the supply of those products. Changes in demand for over-the-road transportation and distribution services could cause volatility, increase our costs and adversely affect our operating margins. Changes in demand for over-the-road transportation and distribution services could cause volatility, increase our costs and adversely affect our operating margins. In addition, the prices of our retail merchandise are similarly impacted by economic and inflationary pressures, which have caused and may continue to cause higher costs and lower margins. Our attempts to offset cost pressures, such as through menu price increases and operational improvements, may not be successful. We seek to provide a moderately priced product, and, as a result, we may not seek to or be able to pass along price increases to our customers sufficient to completely offset cost increases without adversely affecting our customers’ demand. Consumers may be less willing to pay our menu prices and may increasingly visit lower-priced competitors, or may forgo some purchases altogether. Consumers may be less willing to pay our menu prices and may increasingly visit lower-priced competitors, or may forgo some purchases altogether. The extent to which price increases are not sufficient to offset higher costs adequately or in a timely manner, and/or result in significant decreases in revenue volume, may have a material adverse effect on our revenues and results of operations. To the extent that price increases are not sufficient to offset higher costs adequately or in a timely manner, and/or if they result in significant decreases in revenue volume, our revenues and results of operations may be adversely affected.

Labor is a primary component in our operating costs, and increases in labor costs due to increased minimum wages, competition, unemployment rates, or health care and other benefit costs may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. We operate in many states and localities where the minimum wage is significantly higher than the federal minimum wage. Our distributors and suppliers could also be affected by higher minimum wage, benefit standards and compliance costs, which could result in higher costs for goods and services supplied to us. Our distributors and suppliers also may be affected by higher minimum wage and benefit standards and tracking costs, which could result in higher costs for goods and services supplied to us. The market for labor in the United States is competitive, which has resulted in upward pressure on wages and may continue to do so in the future.

Our operating margins are also affected, whether as a result of general inflation or otherwise, by fluctuations in the price of utilities such as natural gas and electricity, on which our locations depend for much of their energy supply. Our failure to anticipate and respond effectively to one or more adverse changes in any of these factors could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Our inability to anticipate and respond effectively to one or more adverse changes in any of these factors could have a significant adverse effect on our results of operations. Inflationary pressures and other fluctuations impacting the cost of these items could have a negative impact on our business in 2024.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had and may in the future have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders for an extended period of time.

The Department of Health and Human Services declared the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11 2023. However, during 2023, we continued to experience negative economic pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot predict how quickly or whether consumer demand for our business will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024. Additionally, we cannot anticipate whether our suppliers will face economic challenges caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result, we may face shortages of food items or other supplies at our restaurants, and our operations and sales may be adversely impacted by such supply interruptions. Similarly, many of the products sold in our retail operations are sourced from international suppliers, including from the People’s Republic of China, and have experienced, and will likely continue to experience, disruptions, temporary closures and worker shortages that may result in an inability to fulfill our orders timely or, in some cases, at all, which could have an adverse impact on our retail sales and margins. Similarly, many of the products sold in our retail operations are sourced from international suppliers, including from the People’s Republic of China, and have experienced, and will likely continue to experience, disruptions, temporary closures and worker shortages that may result in an inability to fulfill our orders timely or, in some cases, at all, which could have an adverse impact on our retail sales and margins. In addition, we also cannot predict whether future variants of COVID-19 or outbreaks of other infectious disease will have similar effects on consumer demand. As a result of these factors, diminished economic activity has had and may continue to have a material adverse effect on our guest traffic, sales and operating costs, and we cannot predict the duration of the ongoing economic uncertainty.

Risks Related to Our Business

Health concerns, government regulation relating to the consumption of food products and widespread infectious diseases could affect consumer preferences and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and other countries have experienced, and may experience in the future, outbreaks of other viruses, such as norovirus, the bird/avian flu or other diseases. In recent years there has been publicity concerning E. coli bacteria, hepatitis A, “mad cow” disease, “foot-and-mouth” disease, salmonella, African swine fever, peanut and other food allergens, and other public health concerns affecting the food supply, including beef, chicken, pork, dairy and eggs. Food safety concerns, widespread outbreaks of livestock and poultry diseases, and product recalls, all of which are out of our control, and, in many instances, unpredictable, could also increase our costs and possibly affect the supply of livestock and poultry products. In addition, food safety concerns, widespread outbreaks of livestock and poultry diseases, and product recalls, all of which are out of our control, and, in many instances, unpredictable, could also increase our costs and possibly affect the supply of livestock and poultry products. Additionally, we rely on our suppliers to comply with applicable laws and industry standards, and if our suppliers are unable to comply with such laws or do not otherwise meet our quality standards, we may face a disruption in our supply chain that could have a material adverse effect on our business. If we are unable to respond effectively, food safety concerns could have a negative impact on our business and our reputation. If we are unable to continue to compete effectively, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

The sale of food and prepared food products for human consumption involves the risk of injury to our customers. Such injuries may result from tampering by unauthorized third parties, product contamination or spoilage, including the presence of foreign objects, substances, chemicals, other agents, or residues introduced during the growing, storage, handling and transportation phases. Such injuries may result from tampering by unauthorized third parties, product contamination or spoilage, including the presence of foreign objects, substances, chemicals, other agents, or residues introduced during the growing, storage, handling and transportation phases. Additionally, many of the food items on our menu contain beef and chicken. The preferences of our customers toward beef and chicken could be affected by changes in consumer health or dietary trends and preferences regarding meat consumption or health concerns and publicity concerning food quality, illness and injury generally. The preferences of our customers toward beef and chicken could be affected by changes in consumer health or dietary trends and preferences regarding meat consumption or health concerns and publicity concerning food quality, illness and injury generally. Changes in consumer dietary preferences may impact our menu offerings. Further, consumers may change their dining-in preferences, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, when consumers often chose to order food to go or for delivery. In addition, government regulations or the likelihood of government regulation could increase the costs of obtaining or preparing food products. Failure to respond and adapt to changing consumer preferences could have a material adverse effect on our results of operation and financial condition. A decrease in guest traffic to our stores, a change in our mix of products sold or an increase in costs as a result of these health concerns either in general or specific to our operations, could result in a decrease in sales or higher costs to our stores that would materially harm our business. A decrease in guest traffic to our stores, a change in our mix of products sold or an increase in costs as a result of these health concerns either in general or specific to our operations, could result in a decrease in sales or higher costs to our stores that would materially harm our business.

Our plans depend significantly on our strategic priorities and business initiatives designed to enhance our menu and retail offerings, support our brand, improve operating margins and improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of our operations. Failure to achieve or sustain these plans could adversely affect our results of operations.

We have had, and expect to continue to have, priorities and initiatives in various stages of testing, evaluation and implementation, upon which we expect to improve our results of operations and financial condition. These priorities and initiatives include, but are not limited to, tiered menu and retail pricing, evolving our marketing messaging to support the brand, improving the quality and breadth of retail assortments, evolving our menu, re-engineering store processes to reduce costs and improve store margins, applying technology to improve the employee and guest experience, expanding our store footprint, focusing on new and existing fast casual concepts, focusing on our off premise business and transactions such as strategic relationships, joint ventures and acquisitions. These priorities and initiatives include, but are not limited to, tiered menu and retail pricing, evolving our marketing messaging to support the brand, improving the quality and breadth of retail assortments, evolving our menu, re-engineering store processes to reduce costs and improve store margins, applying technology to improve the employee and guest experience, expanding our store footprint, focusing on new and existing fast casual concepts, focusing on our off premise business and transactions such as strategic relationships, joint ventures and acquisitions. It is possible that our focus on these priorities and initiatives and constantly changing consumer preferences could cause unintended changes to our current results of operations. Additionally, many of these initiatives are inherently risky and uncertain in their application to our business in general, even when tested successfully on a more limited scale. Additionally, many of these initiatives are inherently risky and uncertain in their application to our business in general, even when tested successfully on a more limited scale. It is possible that successful testing can result partially from resources and attention that cannot be duplicated in broader implementation. It is possible that successful testing can result partially from resources and attention that cannot be duplicated in broader implementation. Testing and general implementation also can be affected by other risk factors described herein that reduce the results expected. Testing and general implementation also can be affected by other risk factors described herein that reduce the results expected. Successful system-wide implementation across hundreds of stores and involving tens of thousands of employees relies on consistency of training, stability of workforce, ease of execution and the absence of offsetting factors that can adversely influence results. Successful system-wide implementation across hundreds of stores and involving tens of thousands of employees relies on consistency of training, stability of workforce, ease of execution and the absence of offsetting factors that can adversely influence results. Failure to achieve successful implementation of our initiatives could adversely affect our results of operations. Failure to achieve successful implementation of our initiatives could adversely affect our results of operations.

We face intense competition, and if we are unable to continue to compete effectively, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

The restaurant and retail industries are intensely competitive, and we face many well-established competitors. We compete with national and regional restaurant and retail chains and locally owned restaurants and retailers within each market. We compete within each market with national and regional restaurant and retail chains and locally owned restaurants and retailers. Competition from other regional or national restaurant and retail chains typically represent the more important competitive influence, principally because of their significant marketing and financial resources. Competition from other regional or national restaurant and retail chains typically represents the more important competitive influence, principally because of their significant marketing and financial resources. We face competition as a result of the convergence of grocery, deli, retail and restaurant services, particularly in the supermarket industry. We also face competition as a result of the convergence of grocery, deli, retail and restaurant services, particularly in the supermarket industry. We also face competition from various off-premise meal replacement offerings including, but not limited to, home meal kits delivery, third-party meal delivery and catering and the rapid growth of these channels by our competitors. We also face competition from various off-premise meal replacement offerings including, but not limited to, home meal kits delivery, third-party meal delivery and catering and the rapid growth of these channels by our competitors. Moreover, our competitors can harm our business even if they are not successful in their own operations by taking away customers or employees through aggressive and costly advertising, promotions or hiring practices. Moreover, our competitors can harm our business even if they are not successful in their own operations by taking away customers or employees through aggressive and costly advertising, promotions or hiring practices. We compete primarily on the quality, variety and perceived value of menu and retail items. The number and location of stores, the growth of e-commerce, type of concept, quality and efficiency of service, attractiveness of facilities and effectiveness of advertising and marketing programs also are important factors. The number and location of stores, the growth of e-commerce, type of concept, quality and efficiency of service, attractiveness of facilities and effectiveness of advertising and marketing programs also are important factors. We anticipate that intense competition will continue with respect to all of these factors. We anticipate that intense competition will continue with respect to all of these factors. We also compete with other restaurant chains and other retail businesses for quality site locations, management and hourly employees, and other competitive pressures that could affect both the availability and cost of these important resources. If we are unable to continue to compete effectively, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

Unfavorable publicity could harm our business. In addition, our failure to recognize, respond to and effectively manage the impact of social media could materially impact our business. In addition, our failure to recognize, respond to and effectively manage the impact of social media could materially impact our business.

Multi-unit businesses such as ours can be adversely affected by publicity resulting from complaints or litigation alleging poor food quality, poor service, guest discrimination, food-borne illness, viruses, product defects, personal injury, adverse health effects (including obesity), employee relations or other concerns stemming from one or a limited number of our stores. Even when the allegations or complaints are not accurate or valid, unfavorable publicity relating to one or more of our stores, or only to a single store, could adversely affect public perception of the entire brand. Even when the allegations or complaints are not valid, unfavorable publicity relating to one or more of our stores, or only to a single store, could adversely affect public perception of the entire brand. Additionally, social media can be utilized to target specific companies or brands as a result of a variety of actual or perceived actions or inactions that are disfavored by our customers, local culture, employees, or interest groups, which can materially and immediately impact consumer behavior. Additionally, social media can be utilized to target specific companies or brands as a result of a variety of actual or perceived actions or inactions that are disfavored by our customers, local culture, employees, or interest groups, which can materially impact consumer behavior. Social media allows users to organize collective actions and engage in other brand-damaging behaviors that, if targeted at us, could impact our business. Adverse publicity and its effect on overall consumer perceptions of food safety or customer service could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Additionally, social media uses and platforms are constantly evolving, and as a result, we need to innovate and develop our social media strategies to maintain brand relevance. We rely on social media and other forms of digital marketing to increase brand recognition and reach a broader audience. If our social media initiatives or strategies are not successful, our brand awareness may decline or we may otherwise suffer reputational harm. In addition, a variety of risks are associated with the use of social media, including the public dissemination of proprietary or confidential information, negative comments about us, personally identifiable information, or out-of-date or false information. The inappropriate use of social media by our guests or employees could increase our costs, lead to litigation or result in negative publicity that could damage our reputation.

Failure to maximize or to successfully assert our intellectual property rights could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We rely on trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright laws to protect our intellectual property rights. We have registered certain trademarks and service marks with appropriate governmental authorities. We have registered certain trademarks and service marks with appropriate governmental authorities. We cannot guarantee that these intellectual property rights will be maximized or that they can be successfully asserted. There is a risk that we will not be able to obtain and perfect our own, or, where appropriate, license intellectual property rights necessary to support new product introductions or other brand extensions. There is a risk that we will not be able to obtain and perfect our own, or, where appropriate, license intellectual property rights necessary to support new product introductions or other brand extensions. We cannot be sure that these rights, if obtained, will not be invalidated, circumvented or challenged in the future. Additionally, we cannot guarantee that third parties will not claim our trademarks or menu offerings will infringe on their intellectual property rights, regardless of merit. Our failure to protect or successfully assert our intellectual property rights could make us less competitive and could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Our failure to protect or successfully assert our intellectual property rights could make us less competitive and could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Risks Related to our Capital Structure

The performance of our business as affected by the level of our indebtedness could prevent us from meeting the obligations under our revolving credit facility or the indenture governing the $300 million aggregate principal amount of 0.625% Convertible Senior Notes due 2026 (the “Notes”), maintaining sufficient liquidity to operate our business or service our debt obligations, and we cannot provide any guarantee of future cash dividend payments or that we will be able to actively repurchase our common stock pursuant to a share repurchase program.

Our consolidated indebtedness and restrictions in our revolving credit facility may have the effect, among other things, of reducing our flexibility to respond to changing business and economic conditions and increasing borrowing costs. Given the significant uncertainty relating to the macroeconomic environment, there are potential scenarios under which we could fail to comply with these covenants, which would result in an event of default that, if not waived, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or ability to continue to service our debt obligations. A default under our credit agreement or under the indenture governing the Notes may also significantly affect our ability to obtain additional or alternative financing. For example, the lenders’ ongoing obligation to extend credit under the revolving credit facility is dependent upon our compliance with these covenants and restrictions.

Our ability to make scheduled interest payments or to refinance our obligations with respect to indebtedness will depend on our operating and financial performance, which, in turn, is subject to prevailing economic conditions and to financial, business and other factors beyond our control. Our inability to refinance our indebtedness when necessary or to do so upon attractive terms may have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and results of operations. Our inability to refinance our indebtedness when necessary or to do so upon attractive terms would materially and adversely affect our liquidity and results of operations.

Depending on the impact of macroeconomic environment, we may seek other sources of liquidity and other ways of preserving liquidity. No assurance can be made that sources of additional liquidity will be readily available or that we will be successful in obtaining additional liquidity or preserving liquidity. No assurance can be made that sources of additional liquidity will be readily available or that we will be successful in obtaining additional liquidity or preserving liquidity. Further, no assurance can be made that sources of additional liquidity will be available on terms that are favorable to us. Further, no assurance can be made that sources of additional liquidity will be available on terms that are favorable to us.

Any determination to pay cash dividends on our common stock in the future will be based primarily upon our financial condition, prospects, results of operations and business requirements and our Board of Directors’ conclusion that the declaration of cash dividends is in the best interest of our shareholders and is in compliance with all laws and agreements applicable to the payment of dividends. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that we will be able to actively repurchase our common stock, and we may discontinue plans to repurchase common stock at any time. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that we will be able to actively repurchase our common stock, and we may discontinue plans to repurchase common stock at any time.

We may be unable to raise the funds necessary to repurchase the Notes for cash following a fundamental change, or to pay the cash amounts due upon conversion, and our other indebtedness may limit our ability to repurchase the Notes or pay cash upon their conversion.

Noteholders may require us to repurchase their Notes following a fundamental change at a cash repurchase price generally equal to the principal amount of the Notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. In addition, all conversions of Notes will be settled partially or entirely in cash. In addition, all conversions of Notes will be settled partially or entirely in cash. We may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to repurchase the Notes or pay the cash amounts due upon conversion. We may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to repurchase the Notes or pay the cash amounts due upon conversion. In addition, applicable law, regulatory authorities and the agreements governing our other indebtedness may restrict our ability to repurchase the Notes or pay the cash amounts due upon conversion. In addition, applicable law, regulatory authorities and the agreements governing our other indebtedness may restrict our ability to repurchase the Notes or pay the cash amounts due upon conversion.

Our failure to repurchase Notes or to pay the cash amounts due upon conversion when required will constitute a default under the indenture governing the Notes. A default under the indenture governing the Notes or the fundamental change itself could also lead to a default under agreements governing our other indebtedness, which may result in that other indebtedness becoming immediately payable in full. A default under the indenture governing the Notes or the fundamental change itself could also lead to a default under agreements governing our other indebtedness, which may result in that other indebtedness becoming immediately payable in full. We may not have or be able to secure financing for sufficient funds to satisfy all amounts due under the other indebtedness and the Notes. We may not have or be able to secure financing for sufficient funds to satisfy all amounts due under the other indebtedness and the Notes.

Provisions in the indenture governing the Notes could delay or discourage a takeover of us.
Certain provisions in the Notes and the indenture governing the Notes could make a third party attempt to acquire us more difficult or expensive. For example, if a takeover constitutes a fundamental change, then noteholders will have the right to require us to repurchase their Notes for cash. For example, if a takeover constitutes a fundamental change, then noteholders will have the right to require us to repurchase their Notes for cash. In addition, if a takeover constitutes a make-whole fundamental change, then we may be required to temporarily increase the conversion rate for the Notes. In addition, if a takeover constitutes a make-whole fundamental change, then we may be required to temporarily increase the conversion rate for the Notes. In either case, and in other cases, our obligations under the Notes and the indenture governing the Notes could increase the cost of acquiring us or otherwise discourage a third party from acquiring us or removing incumbent management, including in a transaction that noteholders or holders of our common stock may view as favorable. In either case, and in other cases, our obligations under the Notes and the indenture governing the Notes could increase the cost of acquiring us or otherwise discourage a third party from acquiring us or removing incumbent management, including in a transaction that noteholders or holders of our common stock may view as favorable.

The convertible note hedge and warrant transactions may affect the value of the notes and our common stock.
In connection with the issuance of the Notes, we entered into convertible note hedge transactions with the hedge counterparties. The convertible note hedge transactions cover, subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments, the number of shares of common stock that initially underlie the Notes. The convertible note hedge transactions cover, subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments, the number of shares of common stock that initially underlie the Notes. We also entered into warrant transactions with the hedge counterparties collectively relating to the same number of shares of our common stock, subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments, and for which we received premiums to partially offset the cost of entering into the hedge transactions. We also entered into warrant transactions with the hedge counterparties collectively relating to the same number of shares of our common stock, subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments, and for which we received premiums to partially offset the cost of entering into the hedge transactions.
The convertible note hedge transactions are expected generally to reduce or offset potential dilution to our common stock upon any conversion of the Notes and/or offset any cash payments we may be required to make in excess of the principal amount of converted Notes, as the case may be. However, the warrant transactions could separately have a dilutive effect to the extent that the market value per share of our common stock exceeds the strike price of the warrants. However, the warrant transactions could separately have a dilutive effect to the extent that the market value per share of our common stock exceeds the strike price of the warrants. In connection with establishing and maintaining their initial hedges of the convertible note hedge and warrant transactions, we understand that the hedge counterparties or their respective affiliates may modify their hedge positions with respect to the convertible note hedge transactions and the warrant transactions from time to time by purchasing or selling shares of our common stock or the Notes in privately negotiated transactions or open-market transactions or by entering into or unwinding various over-the-counter derivative transactions with respect to our common stock. In connection with establishing and maintaining their initial hedges of the convertible note hedge and warrant transactions, we understand that the hedge counterparties or their respective affiliates may modify their hedge positions with respect to the convertible note hedge transactions and the warrant transactions from time to time by purchasing or selling shares of our common stock or the Notes in privately negotiated transactions or open-market transactions or by entering into or unwinding various over-the-counter derivative transactions with respect to our common stock.
The effect, if any, of these activities on the trading price of our common stock will depend on a variety of factors, including market conditions, and is uncertain at this time. Any of these activities could, however, adversely affect the trading price of our common stock. Any of these activities could, however, adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.
We are subject to counterparty risk with respect to the convertible note hedge transactions.
The hedge counterparties are financial institutions, and we are subject to the risk that one or more of the hedge counterparties might default under their respective convertible note hedge transactions. Our exposure to the credit risk of the hedge counterparties is not secured by any collateral. Our exposure to the credit risk of the hedge counterparties is not secured by any collateral. Global economic conditions have from time to time resulted in the actual or perceived failure or financial difficulties of many financial institutions. Global economic conditions have from time to time resulted in the actual or perceived failure or financial difficulties of many financial institutions. If a hedge counterparty becomes subject to insolvency proceedings, we will become an unsecured creditor in those proceedings with a claim equal to our exposure at that time under our transactions with such hedge counterparty. If a hedge counterparty becomes subject to insolvency proceedings, we will become an unsecured creditor in those proceedings with a claim equal to our exposure at that time under our transactions with such hedge counterparty.
Our exposure will depend on many factors, but, generally, the increase in our exposure will be correlated to the increase in the market price and in the volatility of our common stock. In addition, upon a default by any hedge counterparty, we may suffer adverse tax consequences and more dilution than we currently anticipate with respect to our common stock. In addition, upon a default by any hedge counterparty, we may suffer adverse tax consequences and more dilution than we currently anticipate with respect to our common stock. We can provide no assurances as to the financial stability or viability of any of the hedge counterparties. We can provide no assurances as to the financial stability or viability of any of the hedge counterparties.
Conversion of the Notes or exercise of the warrants evidenced by the warrant transactions may dilute the ownership interest of existing shareholders, including noteholders who have previously converted their Notes.
At our election, if applicable, we may settle Notes tendered for conversion partly in shares of our common stock. Furthermore, the warrants evidenced by the warrant transactions are expected to be settled on a net-share basis. Furthermore, the warrants evidenced by the warrant transactions are expected to be settled on a net-share basis. As a result, the conversion of some or all of the Notes or the exercise of some or all of such warrants may dilute the ownership interests of existing shareholders. As a result, the conversion of some or all of the Notes or the exercise of some or all of such warrants may dilute the ownership interests of existing stockholders. Any sales in the public market of the shares of our common stock issuable upon such conversion of the Notes or such exercise of the warrants could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our common stock. Any sales in the public market of the shares of our common stock issuable upon such conversion of the Notes or such exercise of the warrants could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our common stock. In addition, the existence of the Notes may encourage short selling by market participants because the conversion of the Notes could depress the price of our common stock. In addition, the existence of the Notes may encourage short selling by market participants because the conversion of the Notes could depress the price of our common stock.

Risks Related to Supply Chains

Our reliance on certain significant vendors, particularly for foreign-sourced retail products, subjects us to numerous risks, including possible interruptions in supply, which could adversely affect our business.

Our ability to maintain consistent quality throughout our operations depends in part upon our ability to acquire specified food and retail products and supplies in sufficient quantities. Partly because of our size, finding qualified vendors and accessing food, retail products, supplies and certain outsourced services in a timely and efficient manner is a significant challenge that typically is more difficult with respect to goods or services sourced outside the United States. Partly because of our size, finding qualified vendors and accessing food, retail products, supplies and certain outsourced services in a timely and efficient manner is a significant challenge that typically is more difficult with respect to goods or services sourced outside the United States. In some cases, we may have only one supplier for a product or service. Our dependence on single-source suppliers subjects us to the possible risks of shortages, interruptions and price fluctuations, and possible litigation when we change vendors because of performance issues. Global economic factors and the weak economic recovery continue to put significant pressure on suppliers, with some suppliers facing financial distress and others attempting to rebuild profitability, all of which tends to make the supply environment more expensive. Global economic factors and the weak economic recovery continue to put significant pressure on suppliers, with some suppliers facing financial distress and others attempting to rebuild profitability, all of which tends to make the supply environment more expensive. If any of these vendors is unable to fulfill its obligations, or if we are unable to find replacement suppliers in the event of a supply disruption, we could encounter supply shortages and/or incur higher costs to secure adequate supplies, either of which could materially harm our business. If any of these vendors is unable to fulfill its obligations, or if we are unable to find replacement suppliers in the event of a supply disruption, we could encounter supply shortages and/or incur higher costs to secure adequate supplies, either of which could materially harm our business.

Additionally, we use a number of products that are or may be manufactured in a number of foreign countries. In addition to the risk presented by the possible long lead times to source these products, our results of operations may be materially affected by risks such as:

tariffs, trade barriers, sanctions, import limitations and other trade restrictions by the U.S. government on products or components shipped from foreign sources (particularly, the People’s Republic of China);
fluctuating currency exchange rates or control regulations;
foreign government regulations;
product testing regulations;
foreign political and economic instability; and
disruptions due to labor stoppages, strikes or slowdowns, or other disruptions, involving our vendors or the transportation and handling industries.

Possible shortages or interruptions in the supply of food items, retail merchandise and other supplies to our stores caused by inclement weather, natural disasters such as droughts, floods and earthquakes, the inability of our vendors to obtain credit in a tightened credit market or other conditions beyond our control could adversely affect the availability, quality and cost of the items we buy and the operations of our stores. Our inability to effectively manage supply chain risk could increase our costs and limit the availability of products that are critical to our store operations. Our inability to effectively manage supply chain risk could increase our costs and limit the availability of products that are critical to our store operations. If we temporarily close a store or remove popular items from a store’s menu or retail product assortment, that store may experience a significant reduction in revenue during the time affected by the shortage or thereafter as a result of our customers changing their dining and shopping habits. If we temporarily close a store or remove popular items from a store’s menu or retail product assortment, that store may experience a significant reduction in revenue during the time affected by the shortage or thereafter as a result of our customers changing their dining and shopping habits.

Our ability to manage our retail inventory levels and changes in merchandise mix may adversely affect our business.
The long lead times required for a substantial portion of our retail merchandise and the risk of product damages or non-compliance with required specifications could affect the amount of inventory we have available for sale. Additionally, our success depends on our ability to anticipate and respond in a timely manner to changing consumer demand and preferences for merchandise. If we misjudge the market, we may overstock unpopular products and be forced to take significant markdowns, which could reduce our gross margin. If we misjudge the market, we may overstock unpopular products and be forced to take significant markdowns, which could reduce our gross margin. Conversely, if we underestimate demand for our merchandise we may experience inventory shortages resulting in lost revenues. Inventory shrinkage may also result in lost revenues. Any of these factors could have an adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows from operations and our financial condition. Any of these factors could have an adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows from operations and our financial condition.
Our risks are heightened because of our single retail distribution facility and our potential inability or failure to execute on a comprehensive business continuity plan following a major disaster at or near our corporate facility could adversely affect our business.

The majority of our retail inventory is shipped into, stored at and shipped out of a single warehouse located in Lebanon, Tennessee. All of the decorative fixtures used in our stores are shipped into, stored at and shipped out of a separate warehouse that is also located in Lebanon, Tennessee. All of the decorative fixtures used in our stores are shipped into, stored at and shipped out of a separate warehouse that is also located in Lebanon, Tennessee. A natural disaster or public health crisis (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) affecting either of these warehouses or their personnel and operations could materially adversely affect our business. Additionally, our corporate systems and processes and support for our restaurant and retail operations are centralized on one campus in Tennessee. We have disaster recovery procedures and business continuity plans in place to address most events, back up and offsite locations for recovery of electronic and other forms of data and information. We have disaster recovery procedures and business continuity plans in place to address most events, back up and offsite locations for recovery of electronic and other forms of data and information. However, if we are unable to implement our disaster recovery and business continuity plans, we may experience delays in recovery of data, failure to support field operations, tardiness in required reporting and compliance and the inability to perform vital corporate functions which could adversely affect our business. However, if we are unable to implement our disaster recovery and business continuity plans, we may experience delays in recovery of data, failure to support field operations, tardiness in required reporting and compliance and the inability to perform vital corporate functions which could adversely affect our business.

Risks Related to IT Systems, Cybersecurity and Data Privacy

A material disruption in our information technology, network infrastructure and telecommunication systems could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

We rely extensively on our information technology across our operations, including, but not limited to, point of sales processing, supply chain management, retail merchandise allocation and distribution, labor productivity and expense management Our business depends significantly on the reliability, security and capacity of our information technology systems to process these transactions, summarize results, manage and report on our business and our supply chain. Our information technology systems are subject to damage or interruption from power outages, computer, network, cable system, internet and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, security breaches, catastrophic events such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, acts of war or terrorism, and usage errors by our employees. If our information technology and telecommunication systems are damaged or cease to function properly, we may have to make a significant investment to repair or replace them, and we could suffer loss of critical data and interruptions or delays in our operations in the interim. If our information technology and telecommunication systems are damaged or cease to function properly, we may have to make a significant investment to repair or replace them, and we could suffer loss of critical data and interruptions or delays in our operations in the interim. In addition, from time to time, our systems may become obsolete or require attention and could result in interruptions in our services and non-compliance with certain laws or regulations. Any material interruption in our information technology and telecommunication systems could have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations. Any material interruption in our information technology and telecommunication systems could adversely affect our business or results of operations. In addition, some of these essential technology-based business systems are outsourced to third parties. In addition, some of these essential technology-based business systems are outsourced to third parties. While we make efforts to ensure that our outsourced providers are observing proper standards and controls, we cannot guarantee that breaches, disruptions or failures caused by these providers will not occur. While we make efforts to ensure that our outsourced providers are observing proper standards and controls, we cannot guarantee that breaches, disruptions or failures caused by these providers will not occur.

A privacy breach could adversely affect our business.

The protection of customer, employee and company data is critical to us. We are subject to laws relating to information security, privacy, cashless payments, consumer credit, and fraud. Additionally, an increasing number of government and industry groups have established laws and standards for the protection of personal and health information. Additionally, an increasing number of government and industry groups have established laws and standards for the protection of personal and health information. As a merchant and service provider of point-of-sale services, we are also subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard issued by the Payment Card Industry Council. As a merchant and service provider of point-of-sale services, we are also subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard issued by the Payment Card Industry Council. The regulatory environment surrounding information security and privacy is increasingly demanding, with the frequent imposition of new and constantly changing requirements, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, which became effective on January 1, 2020. Compliance with these requirements may result in cost increases due to necessary system changes and the development of new administrative processes. The regulatory environment surrounding information security and privacy is increasingly demanding, with the frequent imposition of new and constantly changing requirements, including the recently enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). In addition, customers and employees have a high expectation that we will adequately protect their personal information. In addition, customers and employees have a high expectation that we will adequately protect their personal information. For example, in connection with credit and debit card sales, we transmit confidential card information. For example, in connection with credit and debit card sales, we transmit confidential card information. Third parties may have the technology or know-how to breach the security of this customer information, and our security measures and those of our technology vendors may not effectively prevent others from obtaining improper access to this information. Third parties may have the technology or know-how to breach the security of this customer information, and our security measures and those of our technology vendors may not effectively prevent others from obtaining improper access to this information. If we fail to comply with the laws and regulations regarding privacy and security or experience a security breach, we could be exposed to risks of data loss, regulatory investigations and/or penalties, a loss of the ability to process credit and debit card payments, substantial inconvenience or harm to our guests, litigation and serious disruption of our operations. If we fail to comply with the laws and regulations regarding privacy and security or experience a security breach, we could be exposed to risks of data loss, regulatory investigations and/or penalties, a loss of the ability to process credit and debit card payments, substantial inconvenience or harm to our guests, litigation and serious disruption of our operations. Additionally, any resulting negative publicity could significantly harm our reputation and damage our relations with our guests. As privacy and information security laws, regulations and practices change and cyber risks continue to evolve, we may incur additional costs to ensure we remain in compliance and protect guest, employee and Company information. As privacy and information security laws, regulations and practices change and cyber risks continue to evolve, we may incur additional costs to ensure we remain in compliance and protect guest, employee and Company information.

We outsource certain business processes to third-party vendors that subject us to risks, including disruptions in business and increased costs; our use of third-party technologies has increased and if we are unable to maintain our rights to these technologies our business may be harmed.

Some of our business processes are currently outsourced to third parties. Such processes include distribution of food and retail products to our store locations and customers, credit and debit card authorization and processing, gift card tracking and authorization, employee payroll card services, health care and workers’ compensation insurance claims processing, wage and related tax credit documentation and approval, guest satisfaction survey programs, employee engagement surveys and externally hosted business software applications. Such processes include distribution of food and retail products to our store locations and customers, credit and debit card authorization and processing, gift card tracking and authorization, employee payroll card services, health care and workers’ compensation insurance claims processing, wage and related tax credit documentation and approval, guest satisfaction survey programs, employee engagement surveys and externally hosted business software applications. We cannot ensure that all providers of outsourced services are observing proper internal control practices, such as redundant processing facilities, and there are no guarantees that failures will not occur. We cannot ensure that all providers of outsourced services are observing proper internal control practices, such as redundant processing facilities, and there are no guarantees that failures will not occur. Failure of third parties to provide adequate services could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We maintain relationships with various third-party delivery apps and services such as DoorDash® and Uber Eats. Our sales may be negatively affected if these platforms are damaged or interrupted through technological failures or otherwise. Our sales may be negatively affected if these platforms are damaged or interrupted through technological failures or otherwise. The drivers fulfilling third-party delivery orders may make errors or fail to make timely deliveries such that our food or brands are poorly represented. The drivers fulfilling third-party delivery orders may make errors or fail to make timely deliveries such that our food or brands are poorly represented. This could cause reputational harm or adversely impact sales and customer satisfaction. This could cause reputational harm or adversely impact sales and customer satisfaction. Our sales through these services may also depend on the availability of delivery drivers, who are generally independent contractors. Our sales through these services may also depend on the availability of delivery drivers, who are generally independent contractors.

We use third parties to authorize and process credit and debit card payments, which requires the collection and retention of customer data, including sensitive financial data and other personally identifiable information. Such personal information is maintained by third parties who provide payment processing services. A weakness in such third party’s systems or software products (or in the systems or software products in the service providers of those third parties) may lead to a data breach or pose cybersecurity risks. If we, or one of our third party service providers experience a cyber attack or security data breach, our results of operations and brand may suffer. Additionally, we may have to make a significant investment to remedy or replace such systems.

We rely on certain technology licensed from third parties and may be required to license additional technology in the future for use in managing our internet sites and providing services to our guests and employees. These third-party technology licenses may not continue to be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. The inability to enter into and maintain these technology licenses could adversely affect our business.

Legal and Regulatory Risks

We are subject to a number of risks relating to federal, state and local regulation of our business, including the areas of minimum wage increases, health care reform and environmental matters, and an insufficient or ineffective response to government regulation may increase our costs and decrease our profit margins.

The restaurant industry is subject to extensive federal, state and local laws and regulations, including those relating to food safety, minimum wage and other labor issues (such as unionization), health care, animal health and welfare, menu labeling and building and zoning requirements and those relating to the preparation and sale of food and alcoholic beverages as well as certain retail products. The development and operation of our stores depend to a significant extent on the selection and acquisition of suitable sites, which are subject to zoning, land use, environmental, traffic and other regulations and requirements. The development and operation of our stores depend to a significant extent on the selection and acquisition of suitable sites, which are subject to zoning, land use, environmental, traffic and other regulations and requirements. We are also subject to licensing and regulation by state and local authorities relating to health, sanitation, safety and fire standards and the sale of alcoholic beverages, federal and state laws governing our relationships with employees (including the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and applicable requirements concerning minimum wage, overtime, healthcare coverage, family leave, medical privacy, tip credits, working conditions, safety standards and immigration status), and federal and state laws which prohibit discrimination and other laws regulating the design and operation of facilities, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. In addition, we are subject to a variety of federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the use, storage, discharge, emission and disposal of hazardous materials. We are also subject to licensing and regulation by state and local authorities relating to health, sanitation, safety and fire standards and the sale of alcoholic beverages, federal and state laws governing our relationships with employees (including the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and applicable requirements concerning minimum wage, overtime, healthcare coverage, family leave, medical privacy, tip credits, working conditions, safety standards and immigration status), and federal and state laws which prohibit discrimination and other laws regulating the design and operation of facilities, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. In addition, we are subject to a variety of federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the use, storage, discharge, emission and disposal of hazardous materials. We also face risks from new and changing laws and regulations relating to gift cards, nutritional content, nutritional labeling, product safety and menu labeling. We also face risks from new and changing laws and regulations relating to gift cards, nutritional content, nutritional labeling, product safety and menu labeling. Compliance with these laws and regulations can be costly and can increase our exposure to litigation or governmental investigations or proceedings.

Increases in state or federal minimum wage rates, including recent proposals to increase state or federal minimum wage rates and index future increases to inflation, or other changes in these laws could increase our labor costs. Our ability to respond to minimum wage increases by increasing menu prices will depend on the responses of our competitors and customers. Our distributors and suppliers also may be affected by higher minimum wage and benefit standards and tracking costs, which could result in higher costs for goods and services supplied to us. Our distributors and suppliers also may be affected by higher minimum wage and benefit standards and tracking costs, which could result in higher costs for goods and services supplied to us.

There also has been increasing focus by U.S. and foreign governmental authorities on environmental matters, such as climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gases and water consumption. This increased focus may lead to new initiatives directed at regulating an as yet unspecified array of environmental matters. This increased focus may lead to new initiatives directed at regulating an as yet unspecified array of environmental matters. Legislative, regulatory or other efforts to combat climate change or other environmental concerns could result in future increases in taxes, the cost of raw materials, transportation and utilities, which could decrease our operating profits and necessitate future investments in facilities and equipment. Legislative, regulatory or other efforts to combat climate change or other environmental concerns could result in future increases in taxes, the cost of raw materials, transportation and utilities, which could decrease our operating profits and necessitate future investments in facilities and equipment.

The impact of current laws and regulations, the effect of future changes in laws or regulations that impose additional requirements and the consequences of litigation relating to current or future laws and regulations could increase our compliance and other costs of doing business and therefore have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Failure to comply with the laws and regulatory requirements of federal, state and local authorities could result in, among other things, revocation of required licenses, administrative enforcement actions, fines and civil and criminal liability. Failure to comply with the laws and regulatory requirements of federal, state and local authorities could result in, among other things, revocation of required licenses, administrative enforcement actions, fines and civil and criminal liability. Compliance with these laws and regulations can be costly and can increase our exposure to litigation or governmental investigations or proceedings. Also, the failure to obtain and maintain required licenses, permits and approvals could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Also, the failure to obtain and maintain required licenses, permits and approvals could adversely affect our operating results. Typically, licenses must be renewed annually and may be revoked, suspended or denied renewal for cause at any time if governmental authorities determine that our conduct violates applicable regulations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Typically, licenses must be renewed annually and may be revoked, suspended or denied renewal for cause at any time if governmental authorities determine that our conduct violates applicable regulations, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Our advertising is heavily dependent on billboards, which are highly regulated, and our evolving marketing strategy involves increased advertising and marketing costs that could adversely affect our results of operations.

Historically, we have relied upon billboards as our principal method of advertising. A number of states in which we operate restrict highway signage and billboards. Because many of our stores are located on the interstate highway system, our business is highly related to highway travel. Because many of our stores are located on the interstate highway system, our business is highly related to highway travel. Thus, signage or billboard restrictions or loss of existing signage or billboards could adversely affect our visibility and ability to attract customers. Thus, signage or billboard restrictions or loss of existing signage or billboards could adversely affect our visibility and ability to attract customers.

Additionally, as we continue to evolve our marketing strategy, we are increasingly utilizing more traditional and higher cost methods of advertising, such as national cable television, radio and online and digital media. These types of advertising, their effects upon our revenues and, in turn, our profits, are uncertain. Additionally, if our competitors increased their spending on advertising and promotions, we could be forced to substantially increase our advertising, media or marketing expenses. If we did so or if our current advertising and promotion programs become less effective, we could experience a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Litigation may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business is subject to the risk of litigation by employees, guests, suppliers, shareholders, governmental agencies, competitors or others through private actions, class actions, administrative proceedings, regulatory actions or other litigation. These actions and proceedings may involve allegations of illegal, unfair or inconsistent employment practices, including wage and hour violations and employment discrimination; guest discrimination; food safety issues, including poor food quality, food-borne illness, food tampering, food contamination, and adverse health effects from consumption of various food products or high-calorie foods (including obesity); other personal injury, including claims related to COVID-19; violation of “dram shop” laws; trademark and patent infringement; violation of the federal securities laws; or other concerns. These actions and proceedings may involve allegations of illegal, unfair or inconsistent employment practices, including wage and hour violations and employment discrimination; guest discrimination; food safety issues, including poor food quality, food-borne illness, food tampering, food contamination, and adverse health effects from consumption of various food products or high-calorie foods (including obesity); other personal injury, including claims related to COVID-19; violation of “dram shop” laws; trademark and patent infringement; violation of the federal securities laws; or other concerns. The outcome of litigation, particularly class action lawsuits and regulatory actions, is difficult to assess or quantify. Plaintiffs in these types of lawsuits may seek recovery of very large or indeterminate amounts and the magnitude of the potential loss relating to such lawsuits may remain unknown for substantial periods of time. The cost to defend future litigation may be significant. There may also be adverse publicity associated with litigation that could decrease guest or consumer acceptance of our brand, regardless of whether the allegations are valid or we ultimately are found liable. Litigation could adversely impact our operations and our ability to expand our brand in other ways, such as by diverting management’s attention away from operations. Litigation could adversely impact our operations and our ability to expand our brand in other ways as well. As a result, litigation may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. As a result, litigation may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business could be negatively affected as a result of actions of activist shareholders.

In the past, activist shareholders have nominated candidates for election to our Board of Directors at our annual meetings of shareholders, resulting in proxy contests, and called publicly for special meetings of shareholders to consider other proposals relating to corporate policies of the Company, including on matters such as our dividend policy, capital structure and strategic alternatives. If we become engaged in a proxy contest or other public engagement with an activist shareholder in the future, our business could be adversely affected because:

responding to public proposals and director nominations, special meeting requests and other actions by activist shareholders can disrupt our operations, be costly and time-consuming, and divert the attention of our management and employees;
perceived uncertainties as to our future direction may result in the loss of potential business opportunities, and may make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified personnel and business partners;
claims made by activist shareholders in connection with a proxy contest or otherwise may harm our reputation, damage our relations with customers, employees and business relations such as suppliers, or otherwise impair our business; and
pursuit of an activist shareholder’s agenda may adversely affect our ability to effectively implement our business strategy and create additional value for our shareholders.

Provisions in our charter, Tennessee law and our shareholder rights plan may discourage potential acquirers of the Company.

Our charter documents contain provisions that may have the effect of making it more difficult for a third party to acquire or attempt to acquire control of the Company. In addition, we are subject to certain provisions of Tennessee law that limit, in some cases, our ability to engage in certain business combinations with significant shareholders. In addition, we are subject to certain provisions of Tennessee law that limit, in some cases, our ability to engage in certain business combinations with significant shareholders. In addition, we have adopted a shareholder rights plan, which provides, among other things, that when specified events occur, our shareholders will be entitled to purchase from us shares of junior preferred stock. In addition, we have adopted a shareholder rights plan, which provides, among other things, that when specified events occur, our shareholders will be entitled to purchase from us shares of junior preferred stock. The shareholder rights plan will expire on April 9, 2024. The preferred stock purchase rights are triggered ten days after the date of a public announcement that a person or group acting in concert has acquired, or obtained the right to acquire, beneficial ownership of 20% or more of our outstanding common stock. The shareholder rights plan will expire on April 9, 2024. The preferred stock purchase rights are triggered ten days after the date of a public announcement that a person or group acting in concert has acquired, or obtained the right to acquire, beneficial ownership of 20% or more of our outstanding common stock. The preferred stock purchase rights would cause dilution to a person or group that attempts to acquire the Company on terms that do not satisfy the requirements of a qualifying offer under the shareholder rights plan or are otherwise not approved by our Board of Directors. The preferred stock purchase rights would cause dilution to a person or group that attempts to acquire the Company on terms that do not satisfy the requirements of a qualifying offer under the shareholder rights plan or are otherwise not approved by our Board of Directors.

These provisions, either alone or in combination with each other, give our current directors and executive officers a substantial ability to influence the outcome of a proposed acquisition of the Company. These provisions would apply even if an acquisition or other significant corporate transaction was considered beneficial by some of our shareholders. If a change in control or change in management is delayed or prevented by these provisions, the market price of our securities could decline.

Risks Related to Our Business Strategy

Failure to adequately address environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) matters, could adversely affect our brand, business, results of operations and financial condition.

There has been increasing public focus by investors, environmental activists, the media and governmental and regulatory agencies on ESG matters, including packaging and waste, animal health and welfare, human rights, climate change, greenhouse gases and land, energy and water use. In response to shareholders’ heightened level of expectation for expanded ESG disclosure, we publish an ESG Report annually describing our ESG efforts and goals. Execution of the strategies and achievement of the goals outlined in the ESG Report are subject to risks and uncertainties, including our ability to meet our goals within the currently projected costs and the expected timeframes; unforeseen design, operational and technological difficulties; the outcome of research efforts and future technology developments; and the actions of competitors and competitive pressures. There is no assurance that we will be able to successfully execute our strategies and achieve our goals. Failure, or perceived failure, to achieve these goals could damage our reputation and relationships with customers, government agencies and investors. Such conditions could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The SEC is expected to adopt rules governing climate change disclosures that could significantly increase compliance burdens and associated regulatory costs of publicly traded companies. Other federal, state and local legislative and regulatory efforts to combat other ESG concerns could also result in new or more stringent forms of oversight and mandatory reporting, diligence and disclosure requirements, which could increase our reporting costs. Any failure or perceived failure by us to manage ESG issues or comply with regulations could have a material adverse effect on our reputation and on our business, results of operations, financial condition or stock price, including the sustainability of our business over time. Our risks are heightened because of our single retail distribution facility and our potential inability or failure to execute on a comprehensive business continuity plan following a major disaster at or near our corporate facility could adversely affect our business.

We are dependent upon attracting and retaining qualified employees while also controlling labor costs.

Our performance is dependent on attracting and retaining a large and growing number of qualified store employees. Availability of staff varies widely from location to location. Many staff members are in entry-level or part-time positions, typically with high rates of turnover. Many staff members are in entry-level or part-time positions, typically with high rates of turnover. High turnover of store management and staff would cause us to incur higher direct costs associated with recruiting, training and retaining replacement personnel. Management turnover as well as general shortages in the labor pool can cause our stores to operate with reduced staff, which negatively affects our ability to provide appropriate service levels to our customers. Management turnover as well as general shortages in the labor pool can cause our stores to operate with reduced staff, which negatively affects our ability to provide appropriate service levels to our customers. The market for the most qualified talent continues to be competitive and we must provide competitive wages, benefits and workplace conditions to maintain our most qualified employees. The market for the most qualified talent continues to be competitive and we must provide competitive wages, benefits and workplace conditions to maintain our most qualified employees. Competition for qualified employees exerts upward pressure on wages paid to attract such personnel, resulting in higher labor costs, including greater recruiting and training expenses.

Our ability to meet our labor needs while controlling our costs is subject to external factors such as unemployment levels, minimum wage legislation, health care legislation, payroll taxes and changing demographics. Many of our employees are hourly workers whose wages are affected by increases in the federal or state minimum wage or changes to tip credits. Tip credits are the amounts an employer is permitted to assume an employee receives in tips when the employer calculates the employee’s hourly wage for minimum wage compliance purposes. Tip credits are the amounts an employer is permitted to assume an employee receives in tips when the employer calculates the employee’s hourly wage for minimum wage compliance purposes. Increases in minimum wage levels and changes to the tip credit have been made and continue to be proposed at both federal and state levels. As minimum wage rates increase, we may need to increase not only the wages of our minimum wage employees but also the wages paid to employees at wage rates that are above minimum wage. If competitive pressures or other factors prevent us from offsetting increased labor costs by increases in prices, our profitability may decline. If competitive pressures or other factors prevent us from offsetting increased labor costs by increases in prices, our profitability may decline.

The loss of key executives or difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel could jeopardize our future growth and success.

We have assembled a senior management team which has substantial background and experience in the restaurant and retail industries. Our future growth and success depend substantially on the contributions and abilities of our senior management and other key personnel, and we design our compensation programs to attract and retain key personnel and facilitate our ability to develop effective succession plans. Our future growth and success depend substantially on the contributions and abilities of our senior management and other key personnel, and we design our compensation programs to attract and retain key personnel and facilitate our ability to develop effective succession plans. If we fail to attract or retain senior management or other key personnel, our succession planning and operations could be materially and adversely affected. If we fail to attract or retain senior management or other key personnel, our succession planning and operations could be materially and adversely affected. We must continue to recruit, retain and motivate management and other employees sufficiently to maintain our current business and support our projected growth. A loss of key employees or a significant shortage of high-quality store employees could jeopardize our ability to meet our business goals. A loss of key employees or a significant shortage of high-quality store employees could jeopardize our ability to meet our business goals. We have experienced and may continue to experience challenges in recruiting and retaining team members in various locations. We have experienced and may continue to experience challenges in recruiting and retaining team members in various locations. Additionally, Julie Felss Masino began serving as Chief Executive Officer-Elect on August 7, 2023 and will begin serving as Chief Executive Officer on November 1, 2023, replacing Sandra B. Cochran, who will thenceforth serve as Executive Chair of the Board of Directors through her retirement as of September 30, 2024 (or such earlier date that the Board of Directors of the Company may determine upon 30 days’ prior written notice to Ms. Cochran). Such transition in our executive management team may divert the attention of management or otherwise be disruptive to our business.

We may pursue strategic investments or initiatives now or in the future, which may not yield their expected benefits, resulting in a loss of some or all of our investment.

We may, from time to time, evaluate and pursue other opportunities for growth, including through strategic investments, joint ventures, other acquisitions, and other initiatives, such as our recent rollout of a limited selection of beer and wine in certain locations and our new customer loyalty program. These initiatives involve various inherent risks, including, without limitation, general business risk, integration and synergy risk, market acceptance risk and risks associated with the potential distraction of management. These initiatives involve various inherent risks, including, without limitation, general business risk, integration and synergy risk, market acceptance risk and risks associated with the potential distraction of management. It may be difficult to predict the success of any endeavor, and such transactions and initiatives may not ultimately create value for us or our shareholders and may harm our reputation and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, failure to maximize or successfully execute our customer loyalty program could adversely impact growth.

Individual store locations are affected by local conditions that could change and adversely affect the carrying value of those locations.

The success of our business depends on the success of individual locations, which in turn depends on stability of or improvements in operating conditions at and around those locations. Our revenues and expenses can be affected significantly by the number and timing of the opening of new stores and the closing, relocating and remodeling of existing stores. Our revenues and expenses can be affected significantly by the number and timing of the opening of new stores and the closing, relocating and remodeling of existing stores. We incur substantial pre-opening expenses each time we open a new store and other expenses when we close, relocate or remodel existing stores. We incur substantial pre-opening expenses each time we open a new store and other expenses when we close, relocate or remodel existing stores. The expenses of opening, closing, relocating or remodeling any of our stores may be higher than anticipated. The expenses of opening, closing, relocating or remodeling any of our stores may be higher than anticipated. An increase in such expenses could have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Also, as demographic and economic patterns (e.g., highway or roadway traffic patterns, concentrations of general retail or hotel activity, local population densities or increased competition) change, current locations may not continue to be attractive or profitable. Possible declines in neighborhoods where our stores are located or adverse economic conditions in areas surrounding those neighborhoods could result in reduced revenues in those locations. The occurrence of one or more of these events could have a material adverse effect on our revenues and results of operations as well as the carrying value of our individual locations.

If we fail to execute our business strategy, which includes our ability to find new store locations and open new stores that are profitable, our business could suffer.

One of the means of achieving our growth objectives is opening and operating new and profitable stores. This strategy involves numerous risks, and we may not be able to open all of our planned new stores and the new stores that we open may not be profitable or as profitable as our existing stores. This strategy involves numerous risks, and we may not be able to open all of our planned new stores and the new stores that we open may not be profitable or as profitable as our existing stores.

A significant risk in executing our business strategy is locating, securing and profitably operating an adequate supply of suitable new store sites. Competition for suitable store sites and operating personnel in our target markets is intense, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to find sufficient suitable locations, or negotiate suitable purchase or lease terms, for our planned expansion in any future period. Competition for suitable store sites and operating personnel in our target markets is intense, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to find sufficient suitable locations, or negotiate suitable purchase or lease terms, for our planned expansion in any future period. Recently, our target markets have been expanded to include markets that are outside of our existing core markets and in states where we currently do not have existing operations, which increases the risk of executing our business strategy. Recently, our target markets have been expanded to include markets that are outside of our existing core markets and in states where we currently do not have existing operations, which increases the risk of executing our business strategy. Economic conditions may also reduce commercial development activity and limit the availability of attractive sites for new stores. Economic conditions may also reduce commercial development activity and limit the availability of attractive sites for new stores. New stores typically experience an adjustment period before sales levels and operating margins normalize, and even sales at successful newly opened stores generally do not make a significant contribution to profitability in their initial months of operation. New stores typically experience an adjustment period before sales levels and opera