Ruby Tuesday Tries the Upscale Approach

Ruby Tuesday menus are now suggesting what wine to pair with your lobster entree. The New York Times takes an inside look at the 900-restaurant chain and its founder Sandy Beall.

The changes at the chain has lost it a few customers, but “very few people miss the roller skates on the wall and the bad food,” Beall says.

The hope is that when the economy bounces back, Ruby Tuesday will differentiate itself from competitors as a place a notch above other casual-dining chains. But one analyst points out that it still has a long way to go to convince the public. During its first quarter, same-restaurant sales dropped 3.1% at company-owned units, and 6.5% at franchised restaurants.

Will Ruby Tuesday’s plans work?

ALSO: Nordstrom, Saks and some other department stores fared well in October, but the sector also had its rough spots last month.

4 Responses to “Ruby Tuesday Tries the Upscale Approach”

  1. 1 bobgreenfest November 9, 2009 at 9:04 am

    What’s next, 7 – Eleven pairing Slim Jims with its new wine offerrings. See for additional financial insights.

  2. 2 James November 9, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Proceed with extreme caution. The difficulty with this or any reconcepting strategy is the real estate. Sites that were carefully selected to sell great burgers and fish and chips to “Joe Six Pack” do not suddenly become great sites to sell “upscale” casual dining. The buildings are too small to compete with Olive Garden style casual dining, and then typically, an Olive Garden will have far fewer locations in a MSA than Ruby Tuesday. A new concept requires new real estate. Mr. Beall may be well advised to create an upscale casual dining concept, convert existing RT’s only where the demographics justifiy that, and concentrate on building or acquiring new sites specifically for the new concept. There is nothing wrong with using your reputation and credibility to sponsor and endorse the new concept. There are many many empty restaurant facilities that may work well for the new upscale casual dining format.

    • 3 Brandi Leyva November 11, 2009 at 8:57 pm

      My few experiences at this restaurant chain have been less than delightful. Before they attempt a higher star rating the locations of many are inconvenient in addition to poor service.The food was not bad, but not great. Every business should be based off the five senses. The first thing I notice other than the grreting is lighing and atmosphere.In addition they have a challenge ahead and I don’t feel they can compete with most 4-5 star dining.

  3. 4 HowDoIStart November 11, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    What an ill fated, poorly timed idea! Just when all the upscale restaurateurs are rolling out moderately priced burger chains (think Emeril and Bobby Flay) to cater to the frugal consumer in this crummy economy, Ruby’s wants to go upscale.

    Ruby’s can’t even run a moderately priced casual theme correctly. Of all their direct competitors, their food and execution is by far the worst in the category. Now they want to sell the consumer the idea that they are upscale? Its ridiculous. In my experience when a retailer attempts to “reinvent” itself, it already has one foot in the grave. They should just change the name to “Available for Lease”

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