Maryville, Tennessee-based Ruby Tuesday has ended their licensing agreement with Hilton Head Island, South Carolina-based Truffles.
The termination of the licensing agreement included the closure of Truffles Grill locations in Buckhead and Winter Park, Florida this past Sunday the 7th. I'm told there are no immediate plans for them to be reopened, under any name, by Ruby Tuesday.
Ruby Tuesday entered into a licensing agreement with the then three unit Truffles Grill in 2010 and expanded the concept to new markets including Atlanta and Winter Park Florida. In Atlanta, the restaurant took the place of a Ruby Tuesday restaurant. While it opened as Truffles Grill, it was later rebranded as Truffles Cafe to sound more casual. This past January, Ruby Tuesday announced they were closing their 13-unit Marlin & Rays seafood chain and were seeking a buyer for their two Truffles Grill restaurants.
I was never a fan of the Truffles concept in its Ruby Tuesday'd form and predicted its imminent closure on last months DeathWatch. (Coincidentally, another DeathWatch prediction was Pizzeria Venti, less than a mile from Truffles on Lenox Road. Pizzeria Venti closed within days of its DeathWatch mention.)
According to a company representative, Ruby Tuesday made the "strategic decision to discontinue their Truffles operations to focus on the Ruby Tuesday brand."
Truffles three South Carolina locations remain owned by Price Beall, brother of Ruby Tuesday founder and former president Sandy Beall.
Ruby Tuesday is in the midst of a company overhaul spearheaded by James J. "JJ" Buettgen. Buetten stepped down from his position as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, Inc. this past November. December 1st he began work at Ruby Tuesday as its president and chief executive officer.
Ruby Tuesday also owns the Lime Fresh Mexican Grill concept that opened three locations in Atlanta last year. This past January the chain closed its Brookwood Hills location a mere eight months after opening it. For now Lime locations in Buckhead and midtown remain open while previously announced additional Atlanta area locations remain on hold.
Will you miss Truffles Grill from Buckhead? What should open in the former Truffles Grill in Buckhead? Is there any hope in reviving the Ruby Tuesday brand?