Ruby Tuesday Goes Downscale

The restaurant chain is returning to a less expensive menu
Ruby Tuesday
Ildar Sagdayev

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday is a restaurant best known for its burgers and beer, and has long been a valued, if slightly less popular, member of the "bar and grill" pantheon, along with contemporaries T.G.I. Friday’s, Chili’s, and the like. But last November, under the auspices of new CEO JJ Buettgen, the chain decided to give itself a more upscale makeover, with a new tagline ("Simple Fresh American Dining"), a higher price point, and an emphasis on wine over beer. That strategy seems to have failed, and Buettgen has decided to essentially abandon it, according to Burger Business.

"In our pursuit of a more upscale brand positioning we may have unintentionally overshot the runway," Buettgen told investors. "We may have moved a bit too far from its heritage and core guest base."

If recent TV ads are any sign, the company has gone back to emphasizing value and burgers. One ad pushes the menu items that cost less than $15, and an item that was dropped from menus during the overhaul, the $13.99 Smoky Mountain Chicken, is back on board.

The course correction is most likely due to disappointing first quarter sales. They were down 2.8 percent at company-owned restaurants, and the company is forecasting flat sales for 2013. 

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