Like many restaurants in the casual dining segment, Ruby Tuesday is desperate for customers.
In early April, the company announced a 16.8% decline in total revenue and a 4% drop in same-restaurant sales for fiscal third quarter 2017.
The chain says it’s in the process of reviewing “all strategic alternatives,” including a possible sale or merger.
Ruby Tuesday revamps its Garden Bar
“The casual dining environment remains highly challenging, promotional, as well as price competitive and our sales trends are reflective of these conditions,” said former interim president and CEO Lane Cardwell. “Still, we are encouraged by the sequential progress we demonstrated during our third quarter relative to the industry.”
With new president and CEO James Hyatt now at the helm, Ruby Tuesday believes it has the momentum to turn its business around by catering to women and families.
The company is focusing its efforts on its famous salad bar, now called the Garden Bar.
Bigger and better than before, Ruby Tuesday says the Garden Bar is one of the chain’s most differentiating features – and it’s hard for competitors to replicate.
“We successfully rolled out our enhanced New Garden Bar nationwide across Ruby Tuesday locations in January, the biggest change we’ve made to our brand in the last decade, as a follow-up to our new core menu launched last November,” Cardwell said.
Here are a few of the changes customers will notice about the new Garden Bar:
- More than more 55 ingredients at all locations, up from 36
- More than a dozen new fruits and vegetables, premium cheeses and crunchy toppings
- Eight new salad dressings made in-house daily
How much will it cost? You can get endless trips to the Garden Bar at lunch starting at $8.99 and dinner from $9.99. It can also be added to any entrée for $3.99.
If you want to substitute the Garden Bar as a side, it’s no longer free. That’ll cost $1.49.
Although Ruby Tuesday has also rolled out a new menu featuring traditional American fare like steaks, chicken and seafood, the Garden Bar is the most popular menu item.
The company says about half of guests get the salad bar as an entrée or add-on.
Ruby Tuesday executives say feedback has been positive so far, but it’s too early to tell if the new Garden Bar and menu will bring customers back.
To save money at Ruby Tuesday, here are a few ideas:
- Look for coupons that come with the Sunday newspaper or directly to your mailbox
- Kids eat free every Tuesday after 5 p.m. with adult entrée purchase
- Join the email club to receive a free appetizer, plus a free entrée on your birthday
Bonus tip: If you get the Garden Bar as a substitute for a side item ($1.49), you can fill up on salad and take some of your entrée home to eat later.