MARYVILLE (WATE) – Ruby Tuesday will close 30 restaurants over the next few months, though they won’t say which ones.
The announcement comes with the company’s report that it sustained more than 34 million dollars in losses in the last quarter.
Ruby Tuesday is in the midst of yet another brand transformation right now, which they say focuses on reclaiming their heritage as a “casual, affordable, energetic and approachable” place to eat.
The problem for Ruby Tuesday came nearly a decade ago when they tried to break away from the bar and grille competition, elevate the chain and attract more affluent customers.
“What they couldn’t see coming was the change in the economy and the market. By the time they implemented that plan, people were very leery of going out and spending $80 or $90 for a family of four to have burgers,” said Rick Laney of Rick Laney Marketing.
He says later decisions didn’t help things.
“They were focused on what type of lighting is in this restaurant and what does the building look like and the color scheme at a time when they probably should have been paying attention to the menu items, the service and the things that made them great to begin with,” Laney said.
Ruby Tuesday founder and CEO Sandy Beall stepped down in 2012. Current president JJ Buettgen acknowledged the company’s past mistakes during a conference call with investors Wednesday.
“The changes did not resonate with Ruby Tuesday core users, many of which viewed the new Ruby Tuesday as too expensive and too formal and were disappointed to see many of their favorite menu items go away. As a result, many loyal guests quickly stopped visiting as frequently or stopped visiting at all,” he said.
Buettgen said they’re on a better path now, and Laney hopes he’s right.
“The reality of it is that companies do limp along for periods of time and some of them eventually turn it around and some are purchased and some of them eventually go away,” Laney said.
We contacted Ruby Tuesday for a comment on this story, but have not heard back.
WATE 6 On Your Side originally reported on the layoffs at the company’s headquarters in Maryville last month.
The company had 779 Ruby Tuesday and Lime Fresh locations as of December 3.