The Daily Rail: Ruby Tuesday's Sold to a Private Equity Firm

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Today's Specials:


SOCIAL MEDIA: 3 Classes of Horrible Restaurant Social Media Fails

A fun & innovative social media program is important for successful restaurants, but some places fall prey to these restaurant social media fails.




Bourdain Calls Out Corden

At a show last Friday, British comedian James Corden poked fun at the Harvey Weinstein situation in Hollywood and got serious heat on Twitter. Anthony Bourdain called him out in a series of scathing tweets, calling Corden a “porcine, pandering tool” for making light of multiple accusations of harassment and rape by the Hollywood exec.


The Hut Got Hacked

Pizza Hut notified about 60,000 customers over the weekend that their credit card information has been stolen. People who ordered either online or via the app between October 1-2nd could have had their card info compromised. What went over even worse? The hut waited almost two weeks to tell guests.


The Karate Kid Serves Pancakes

Three burglars tried looting an IHOP in San Antonio last week. Unfortunately for one of them, a waiter was a third-degree black belt and managed to “deflect” the robber’s incoming crowbar, tackle him, and pin him until police arrived. The waiter said he’s ready to go back to work after he gets a non-bloody shirt. That’s one way to start a morning.



Why it matters to you: Ruby Tuesday’s record of failure is a roadmap to your success.

With the recent news that Ruby Tuesday’s had been de-listed after being purchased by a private equity firm, the play by play for how the casual dining segment has imploded is revealed. Ruby’s was previously a success story from the explosion in casual dining that begin in the ‘90s and continued to the crash in 2007.

Just prior to the Great Recession, Ruby’s had almost 1000 locations and a stock price of close to $30. Fast forward to now and they have closed over a third of their restaurants and the stock was purchased for under 10% ($2.45/share) of its high value. In the end, nothing has seemed to stem the sales declines and Ruby’s experience is like a roadmap on how to fall flat.

Whether it was the upscaling they tried in the early 2000s or the multiple non-core concepts they bought, sold and got killed on, their management has misfired enough times to be conspicuous. Their failures are great examples for all operators to learn from and avoid. Start by knowing your audience, then deliver them the best experience you can possibly muster. This begins and ends with your local management and the depth of your training. No amount of glitter and glitz can replace good operations and an adherence to best practices. So, don’t be like Ruby’s and stay on course, get it right, and let the chips fall where they may.



Why it matters to you: Miscommunication has led to yet another restaurant’s PR nightmare.

Restaurant operators fall victim to miscommunication fairly often, causing a low key situation to blow out of proportion. A few weeks back, we discussed a scenario in which a handicapped man accused a California restaurant owner of failing to accommodate his wheelchair whereas he misunderstood what she was asking. This week, a similar problem occurred in a Virginia restaurant as a couple accused a restaurant owner of discriminating against a man in a motorized scooter. When eating at the town’s local restaurant, a family asked for an extra seat as someone in their party took up two seats due to his wheelchair.

Tensions escalated when the owner asked if the man could switch to a regular chair or booth because the dining room was overcrowded. The family said they were most angered by the owner’s “rude dismissal of their request,” while not taking adequate time to understand the problem. Although a restaurant’s busiest time can be chaotic, approach is everything when communicating with guests. Had the owner calmly listened to their guest’s concerns, the outcome likely would have been different. Management and owners always need to be cautious as to how they approach their guests as to not offend or embarrass them unintentionally because it can only lead to a public relations nightmare.  

Hero image courtesy of