Ruby Tuesday Inc. (NYSE: RT) is a multinational foodservice retailer that owns, operates, and franchises Ruby Tuesday restaurants. The concept was started in 1972 by Samuel E. (Sandy) Beall, III.
The corporation was formed in 1996 as a reincorporation of Morrison Restaurants Inc. They are headquartered in Maryville, Tennessee, and have 736 locations worldwide.
Their flagship brand is an American cuisine casual dining restaurant chain that is primarily located along the eastern coast of the United States. In 2016, Ruby Tuesday sold the rights to the Lime Fresh Mexican Grill to an undisclosed buyer in an attempt to refocus on the main Ruby Tuesday brand. The company has closed all locations of Wok Hay and Marlin and Ray's. Additionally, they hold development rights to Truffles Grill.
On June 6, 2012, founder and CEO Sandy Beall announced he would be leaving the company. In October 2017, it announced that NRD Capital Management would be taking the company private through a $146 million deal in early 2018.
The restaurant's name was taken directly from The Rolling Stones song, "Ruby Tuesday", which was popular during the time of the first restaurant's inception. The name was suggested to founder Sandy Beall by Bob Hope.
Ruby Tuesday was born out of a $10,000 endowment Sandy Beall had received from a friend and operator of several Pizza Huts to open his own restaurant. With that money, and another $10,000 put together with four of his University of Tennessee fraternity brothers, the first Ruby Tuesday restaurant was opened in 1972. The location was adjacent to the University's Knoxville campus, and although the building still stands, the restaurant has since closed.
Over the subsequent decade, Ruby Tuesday extended their footprint with a new location opening about every nine months. In April 1982, Sandy sold the expanded 16-unit Ruby Tuesday chain to Morrison Inc. for $15 million in cash and stock. The sale provided the rapidly growing restaurant chain with additional financial support. It also saw Sandy become president of a newly formed Specialty Restaurant Division spearheaded by Ruby Tuesday. By 1985, the chain had grown to operate 35 locations, and was a major contributor to the renewed success of Morrison's.
Morrison Inc. was renamed Morrison Restaurants Inc. in 1992 to reflect the importance of their restaurant investments. Additionally, the company realigned their dining division with a new name, the Ruby Tuesday Group. That same year, Sandy was named CEO of Morrison Restaurants Inc. On March 9, 1996, the shareholders of Morrison's approved a distribution and dissolved Morrison Restaurants Inc. into three separate companies: Ruby Tuesday Inc., Morrison Health Care Inc., and Morrison's Fresh Cooking Inc.
Ruby Tuesday Inc. became the legal successor to Morrison Restaurants Inc. and was incorporated in Mobile, Alabama. At the time of the distribution, Ruby Tuesday Inc. operated many other restaurant brands in addition to their flagship Ruby Tuesday brand, including L&N Seafood Grill, Mozzarella's Café, Silver Spoon Café, and Tia's Tex-Mex. In November 2000, Ruby Tuesday Inc. completed the sale of all restaurant brands (with the exception of Ruby Tuesday) to Specialty Restaurant Group, LLC. This divestiture allowed Ruby Tuesday to concentrate exclusively on the growth and development of its namesake brand. On April 12, 2007, Ruby Tuesday Inc. changed its NYSE ticker symbol from RI to RT.
In August 2007, Ruby Tuesday Inc. ventured back into other concepts with their newly acquired Asian dining restaurant, Wok Hay. The company proceeded to convert the concept from self-service to full-service dining. In October 2008, a second location was opened in a former Ruby Tuesday restaurant building. The company's 2011 Annual Report noted an additional franchised Wok Hay restaurant in Trinidad, bringing the emerging chain to three operating restaurants.
In September 2010, Ruby Tuesday Inc. continued its venture into other concepts with an agreement to license the Lime Fresh Mexican Grill brand. Earlier the same year, Ruby Tuesday also acquired the development rights to Truffles Grill and introduced their home-grown Marlin & Ray's Seafood & Sunsets concept. As of 2011, the company was researching conversion of poorly performing Ruby Tuesday restaurants into some of these concepts. An excerpt from the 2011 Annual Report:
The company has also experimented with conversion with the Alabama-based Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q chain. However, a year after remodeling a Ruby Tuesday restaurant into the company's first Jim 'N Nick's, company spokeswoman Meridith Hammond indicated they would no longer explore that particular concept. On April 4, 2012, Ruby Tuesday Inc. announced that it had purchased fast-casual chain Lime Fresh Mexican Grill for $24 million cash. The announcement by Sandy Beall added, "John Kunkel, Lime's founder, will be joining our Board of Directors following completion of the acquisition."
In 2013, after posting a second quarter loss of $15.1 million, or 24 cents a share, Ruby Tuesday decided to close 13 Marlin & Ray's restaurants and its one Wok Hay location, exiting from both concepts. It also decided to seek a buyer for its two licensed Truffles Grill restaurants and close two company-developed Lime Fresh restaurants.
Ruby Tuesday announced plans that it would be taken private through a purchase by NRD Capital Management, a private-equity firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. The $146 million deal is expected to occur in early 2018.
In the summer of 1998, Ruby Tuesday relocated its main headquarters from Mobile, Alabama to Maryville, Tennessee, just 15 miles south of where the company had been founded. This location contains their Restaurant Support Center and an on-site training facility, called the Center for Leadership Excellence (formerly known as WOW-U). These facilities are used as an internal troubleshooting department, development center, test kitchen, and corporate office for the company's executives, restaurant managers, and chefs.
The company purchased a residential property at nearby Maryville College in 1997 to develop a corporate retreat, and renamed it the Ruby Tuesday (RT) Lodge. Additional guest buildings were added, and the area is currently used to dine and house management during corporate training sessions.
Throughout the first half of the company history, the chain mainly located itself in or near shopping malls. Starting in the early 1990s, the company adjusted its distribution strategy by including more freestanding locations.
As of June 2, 2015, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. has company-owned and/or franchised Ruby Tuesday brand restaurants in 44 states and 13 foreign countries. The company owned and operated 658 Ruby Tuesday restaurants, while domestic and international franchisees operated 29 and 49 restaurants, respectively. Their international locations include Canada, Chile, Egypt, El Salvador, Greece, Guam, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Kuwait, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Panama, and the United Kingdom.
For much of its history, Ruby Tuesday had little, if any, advertising. By 2002, the company found itself combating traffic and sales losses at many of its locations. This caused the company to change course and introduce coupons at selected sites. By June of the following year, Ruby Tuesday had expanded on this strategy by testing television, radio, and billboard advertising in select locations. The company also began offering a curbside carryout service originally dubbed "TueGo!".
In 2007, the company began a series of significant changes to its brand identity. The changes were made to move the brand's customer perception out of the "bar-and-grill" segment of the casual dining industry, and were showcased in the opening of their Times Square location the same year. As part of the changes, Pentagram design studios were hired to help construct a new public visual identity for the brand. The design team created a new logo set in Clarendon, altered the standard color scheme, and created all new packaging to promote the renamed "Ruby TueGo" carryout service. Ruby Tuesday also began remodeling its entire suite of restaurants via the removal of their novelty wall artifacts, faux tiffany lamps, and dated furnishings. The update went on to bring a new menu with higher-quality food and beverages, revamped service techniques, high-definition televisions, and a free guest-accessible Wi-Fi network.
Ruby Tuesday CEO Sandy Beall touched on the transformation in his letter to stakeholders in the company's 2007 Annual Report:
In 2008, Ruby Tuesday marketed an advertising campaign to show how radical their recent changes were. On August 5, over "live" streaming internet video, a demolition crew was supposed to implode the final "old Ruby Tuesday" to cap off the brand's commitment of change in front of a small crowd in Mount Holly, Ohio. However, to the crowd's shock, the "restaurant" next door (Cheeky's Bar and Grill, which looked like a typical casual dining chain) was demolished.
Following the events, the senior VP of marketing for Ruby Tuesday (in actuality, an actor) posted a written apology on the company's website and videotaped a formal apology that was broadcast on television. As it turned out, the idea was merely an elaborate marketing ploy to raise attention to the newly remodeled restaurants. The implosion was actually done on a miniature set staffed by a Hollywood special effects crew, and the "live" event had been pre-recorded in Harriman, Tennessee. The two films were then edited together to make it look like an accident.
The remodel and its accompanying changes came at an inopportune time for the chain. A global financial crisis was underway, and the casual dining segment of the industry was financially suffering. To address these issues, the company debuted made-from-scratch garlic cheese biscuits, a Sunday brunch program, and a steak-and-lobster deal night. Despite all of this, financial analysts have been highly critical of the company's actions regarding the ever-changing shift in strategies.
In 2012, yet another advertising campaign was announced to analysts to boost guest perception. It included a reintroduction of television advertising and a continued shift to convert under-performing stores.
In 2014, returning to the more family friendly casual restaurant chain, Ruby Tuesday changed the employees' uniform to more colorful attire of blue jeans and shirts in a variety of colors, changing the menus to a chalkboard theme, adding more current top 100 hit songs to the internal music system and updating their logo to a more modern font style. Continuing the trend in 2015, the chain updated their dated children's menu with the addition of cheese pizza and corn dogs, more colorful plastic beverage cups, and colorful twisty straws.
To promote the more family friendly feel, the chain introduced a Kids Eat Free night on their flagship day, Tuesday. At all company owned restaurants, a child's meal is free with the purchase of an adult entree.
From 2006 until 2009, Alex Job Racing and Ruby Tuesday partnered to form the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team. The team drove the No. 23 Porsche-powered Daytona Prototype in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
In 2009, Eddie Sharp Racing announced a long-term partnership agreement with Ruby Tuesday as the sponsor of the No. 2 Toyota, driven by Tim George Jr. in the ARCA Racing Series.
Starting with the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series, Ruby Tuesday has had a partnership with Penske Racing to sponsor Brad Keselowski in the No. 22 Dodge Challenger. The 2010 season saw them appear in six races, while the 2011 season saw nine races. The company was also advertised on the rear deck lid of Brad's No. 2 Dodge Charger in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Prior to the beginning of the 2011 Daytona 500, Ruby Tuesday was added as a last-minute one-race sponsor for Brian Keselowski, older brother of Brad Keselowski.
In 2012, Ruby Tuesday dropped sponsorship on Brad Keselowski's car.
Ruby Tuesday offers primarily American cuisine, including all-natural chicken, pasta, pork ribs, soups, steak, and seafood. However, the brand is still commonly recognized for their salad bar and hamburgers, which have been staples to the chain since its creation. All of the restaurants also offer a full bar that serves cocktails, beer, and wine. The wine menu was most recently changed in November 2011 to introduce what the brand is calling "Cultivate Wines".
A separate menu is available for placing bulk take-out or catering orders. On January 25, 2012 the company announced their partnership with ezCater to help boost the company's catering sales.
The executive chef for the chain is Peter Glander, former sous-chef at The Modern restaurant inside the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He is responsible for the addition of the pretzel bun to their menu, along with the removal of the brand's long-standing dessert, the chocolate tallcake.
The company was the first large national casual dining chain in the country to post specific nutritional information on their menus. After initially posting this information for all menu items, they reduced the inclusion to a more subtle item-specific format, called the "Smart-Eating" section (currently labeled as "Fit & Trim"). Nutritional and allergen-sensitivity information for the entire menu is available upon request.
Early 2011 saw the company revise and rewrite a portion of their drink recipes to encompass trendy "skinny" cocktails. This shift included changing drink recipes to incorporate healthier liquor and mixer alternatives and labeling the new creations with their "under 150 calories" tagline. VeeV Açaí Spirit, Absolut Berri Açaí Vodka, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, and Minute Maid Light Lemonade are the key products used in these drinks.
Ruby Tuesday released a cookbook by Jeff Morgan on October 25, 2011 titled Simply Fresh: Casual Dining at Home It contains recipes that have been inspired by the menu, and even recipes that are signature to the brand.
On April 11, 2005, the company and its audit committee determined the company would restate previously issued historical financial statements to properly account for leases.
In August 2016, Ruby Tuesday announced that it will close 95 restaurants as sales slide.