The board of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has announced a 60 percent increase in the company's quarterly dividend to 40 cents per share.
Word of the higher payout — which will cost the company $14 million a year and boost its yield to 2.8 percent — came hours before executives were due to begin presentations to analysts and investors at the company's headquarters. The move also comes shortly after top shareholder Sardar Biglari called for the ouster  this fall of four Cracker Barrel directors, including Executive Chairman Mike Woodhouse. Based on his recently reported holdings, the bigger dividend will put an extra $2.4 million in Biglari's pockets each year.
Cracker Barrel officials also on Thursday reported that fiscal Q3-to-date sales and customer traffic numbers are up , albeit at a slightly slower pace than in the second quarter.
"We are pleased to report a continuation of our positive trends in sales and traffic,” said President and CEO Sandy Cochran. “These positive trends, along with our strong cash flow generation, give the Board confidence that we can return more cash to our shareholders through a significant increase in the quarterly dividend.”