"Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday, who could hang a name on you?"
Maryville, Tennessee-based Ruby Tuesday has had its fair share of struggles but can the once popular chain turn it around?
Ruby Tuesday opened its first restaurant near the University of Tennessee in 1972.
In its heyday, Ruby Tuesday had dozens of locations throughout metro Atlanta (and around the southeast), but over the past few years the casual restaurant chain has closed most of them. Once a landmark in most metro malls, the chain has been relegated to mostly stand-alone restaurants in the suburbs of Atlanta.
I recall Ruby Tuesday having locations in Town Center Mall, Gwinnett Place Mall, Northlake Mall, Mall of Georgia and on Lenox Road near Lenox Square. Ruby Tuesday also had locations on West Ponce de Leon Avenue in Decatur, Acworth, Snellville, Cartersville and Griffin, among others.
Today the Ruby Tuesday website reflects the chain operates only 13 restaurants in Georgia.
|Ruby Tuesday's original logo|
Ruby Tuesday replaced their original logo in 2006 with a new, more updated logo. This change coincided with updates to the Ruby Tuesday menu, renovations of existing restaurants and the addition of free guest Wi-Fi networks. One of Ruby Tuesday's many goals in this transformation was to leave their "bar & grill" branding behind, instead going with "Simple Fresh American Dining."
In 2008, Ruby Tuesday marketed a campaign to show how radical their recent changes were. A video posted online by Ruby Tuesday seemed to show a demolition crew imploding the final "old Ruby Tuesday" in front of a small crowd in Mount Holly, Ohio to cap off the brand's commitment to change. "Mistakenly," however, the "restaurant" next door (Cheeky's Bar and Grill, which looked like a typical casual dining restaurant) was demolished instead. The video succeeded in drawing attention to the chain, but that was about it, as the chain seems to remain stuck in another era.
|A comparison of the rebranding efforts of two formerly popular casual chains|
In 2012, Ruby Tuesday purchased Lime Fresh Mexican Grill in hopes of using the fast casual chain as a growth vehicle. The plan was half-baked from the start, and less than a year into their Atlanta entry, all three Atlanta area locations had closed. The Miami-based burrito eatery priced themselves out of the market with prices higher than Atlanta's popular Willy's Mexicana Grill, not to mention Chipotle Mexican Grill.
In 2010, Ruby Tuesday converted its Buckhead restaurant, reportedly one its more successful in Atlanta, into Truffles Grill. After a name change to Truffles Cafe failed to ignite interest in the concept, the restaurant closed last year.
Ruby Tuesday brought in new leadership in 2012 to try and get the restaurant chain back on track.
James "J.J." Buettgen resigned from his position as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Darden Restaurants to become president and CEO of Ruby Tuesday in December 2012. Buettgen took over for Ruby Tuesday founder Sandy Beall, who stepped down after 40 years.
Last summer, Todd Burrowes was also hired away from Darden where he was executive vice president of operations for LongHorn Steakhouse. Burrowes was then named President and C. O. O. of Ruby Tuesday, Inc.
In early 2013, Ruby Tuesday announced it would close its Marlin & Ray's seafood chain, of which there were thirteen overall units, three in Georgia. Marlin & Ray's locations in Acworth, Lithonia & Augusta all closed and interestingly enough, were all former Ruby Tuesday restaurants.
Darden has had its fair share of struggles itself, highlighted by the recent sale of its Red Lobster brand. Can two Darden alums save Ruby Tuesday?
What are your thoughts?
What do you think can / should be done to make Ruby Tuesday relevant again?
What's your fondest memory of Ruby Tuesday?