Following a difficult year that has seen the closure of more than 100 restaurants and revenue and sales declines, Ruby Tuesday is hoping to ramp up sales growth with menu simplification, delivery, and a mobile app.
Same-store sales dropped 3.1 percent for the restaurant’s fiscal year, compared to a 1.4 percent decline a year ago. In a conference call, president and CEO Jim Hyatt unveiled the company’s "Plan to Win," which will aim to increase same-store sales and store profitability and improve guest experience.
“As an outcome of our extensive restaurant business and input from our guests, we are now assessing every aspect of our guest visit; from the hostess greeting until they drive off our parking lot,” Hyatt said. “Our focus on dramatically improving our guest experience will be unrelenting and will establish the foundation of the brand for our quicker turnaround as we move forward.”
Ruby Tuesday is developing a 15-month marketing calendar to increase the frequency of visit for existing guests while also targeting a wider guest profile through research and insights, Hyatt said. This will include decreasing the brand’s frequency of deep price promotions to focus on driving more profitable sales as it works to improve guest experience.
The company is planning to roll out a new mobile app that will allow customers to stay better connected at Ruby Tuesday while putting the brand on a level-playing field with larger competitors, Hyatt said.
Last month, Ruby Tuesday started a testing a new one-page lunch menu at 29 restaurants across the system that includes new items with lower price points and a faster prep time. For its overall menu, Ruby Tuesday plans to pull some unspecified ingredients that have low utilization and simplify its prep work for team members. Hyatt said the company will focus on reenergizing its to-go and catering programs, and has converted some company vehicles to fully wrap and branded catering vehicles to deliver orders and increase visibility. Ruby Tuesday is also testing a delivery pilot with Amazon in eight restaurants to test the mechanics and execution of using third party delivery.
“We are building positive momentum within our organization across all aspects of our business from our brand culture, operational execution, guest experience and food offerings that we do believe will lead to year-over-year improvement in restaurant level margins and EBITDA in fiscal 2018,” Hyatt said.