Patrons of this restaurant chain are hopefully well fed when it's time to say good bye. Ruby Tuesday (RTI), which takes its name from the song by the Rolling Stones, operates a chain of casual-dining restaurants with nearly 800 locations in the US, and about 50 in some 15 foreign countries. The full-service eateries offer a menu of American and ethnic foods, including burgers, fajitas, pasta, ribs, seafood, steak, and a variety of appetizers. Found mostly in the eastern half of the country (with a concentration in Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina), about 750 Ruby Tuesday locations are company-owned, while the rest are franchised. Chile and India have the highest concentration of overseas locations.
Like other top casual-dining chains, Ruby Tuesday tries to appeal to consumers with a broad selection of menu items and mid-range prices. RTI relies heavily on television and print advertising to promote its brand and distinguish itself from other chains such as Applebee's (owned by DineEquity), Olive Garden (Darden Restaurants), and T.G.I. Friday's (Carlson Restaurants Worldwide). It also uses limited-time menu offers and discount pricing to help drive additional traffic.
Revenues for 2011 increased by about 6% from the prior year, primarily the result of a slight increase in restaurant sales, as well as RTI's acquisition of more than 100 restaurants from franchisees. The company also reported an increase in profits, thanks to an after-tax impact of a decline in impairment charges, and lower depreciation in fiscal 2010 compared with fiscal 2009. While its balance sheet is in relatively good shape, RTI continues to work to regain the financial position it had achieved before the economy crashed in late 2007, causing consumer spending to decline.
In order to lure more diners to its restaurants, the company continues to add to its menu as part of on-going efforts to update the Ruby Tuesday brand. In 2011 RTI rolled out a new menu, began offering a complimentary bread program, and enhanced its fresh garden bar and Sunday brunch. Its new menu items include Fit & Trim offerings, and side offerings such as fresh grilled green beans, fresh grilled zucchini, baked mac 'n cheese, and blue cheese coleslaw.
Believing the casual dining segment has been overbuilt without differentiation between brands, RTI is evaluating the conversion of certain lower performing Ruby Tuesday restaurants to other brands. In 2011 it developed an internal Marlin & Ray's seafood concept, which has one location. This adds to its two Wok Hay locations (fast-casual Asian). The company also has one Truffles-branded upscale cafe through a licensing agreement with Truffles-owner Gourmet Market. TRI plans to convert six to eight company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants to the Marlin & Ray's, Truffles, or Wok Hay brands in fiscal 2012. – less