Remember Ruby Tuesday?
Chances are good that you do, and they're equally good you haven't been there in a while.
You're not the only one, and in fact, so many people are giving this long-time staple of
America's casual dining landscape a miss that they're really struggling.
Here's how it happened.
Shopping mall restaurants
Watch any '90s coming-of-age flick, and you know where all the cool kids hung out: the
But today, it's better to shop online, have stuff delivered to your door, and go spend
your time elsewhere.
According to The Wall Street Journal in 2017, the decline in shopping mall traffic is so
bad it's left anchor stores and restaurants fighting for survival.
At the height of mall popularity, a location in a mall was coveted and profitable for a
restaurant chain like Ruby Tuesday.
Now, not enough shoppers are walking by to keep business going, and people aren't making
special trips to park at the mall just for a restaurant inside.
Cringey marketing campaigns
Ruby Tuesday has had some big-time misses when it comes to their marketing campaigns,
like the one they launched in 2013 around their pretzels buns.
According to Business Insider, they decided to go with the dubious hashtag "Fun Between
Couple the hashtag with pixelated photos of the burgers, some mood music, and sexy voiceovers,
and they had customers wondering what the heck was going on in the kitchen and who was
touching their food.
"And we'll reveal it all one hot and juicy pixel at a time."
Earlier, in 2008, they confused countless viewers by promising to live broadcast a demolition
of what they called the last "old" Ruby Tuesdays, but instead "accidentally" took out the competition
next door when the cameras rolled.
"Three, two, one…"
According to Stereogum, they added insult to injury by sending out a mass email explaining
it had been a joke, to people who already understood that, and they just weren't impressed.
Ruby Tuesday knew they had to do something to rebrand themselves and get customers coming
back, but when they did, they did it with shockingly bad timing.
Food Business News says their efforts at rebranding themselves into a more upscale establishment
than the casual chain started in the mid-2000s.
They wanted to attract higher-end customers who were going to spend more, and not only
did that not happen, but they managed to alienate their loyal customer base.
By 2013, they were trying it again.
This time, they wanted to keep the upscale feel, lower the price point, and be relevant
Unfortunately, AOL says they went upscale as the economy went downhill, and got pushed
so far off the radar they just weren't going to be coming back for a lot of people.
No one can deny that millennials are changing the way the nation eats, and it's coming at
the expense of places like Ruby Tuesday.
"I literally just can't."
According to Business Insider, a huge part of Ruby Tuesday's problem is that they've
failed to impress the millennial generation like they impressed their parents.
While Gen-Xers and the Baby Boomers looked at going out to eat as something of a celebration,
millennials seem to be more interested in having their get-togethers at home.
They're more likely to cook at home than other generations, and when they do go out, it tends
to be a quick stop on the way to something else, not the destination itself.
Sneakily unhealthy food
Many of today's consumers are super-aware of what they're eating, what it's going to
do to their waistline and their health, and how bloated and uncomfortable they're going
to feel when they walk out to the car.
"Is butter a carb?"
While Ruby Tuesday does have "Fit & Trim" options, they also have some deceptively horrible
CBS News's Burger Breakdown named Ruby Tuesday's Turkey Avocado Burger the "Worst healthy-sounding
While it sounds relatively healthy, it comes with 878 calories, 54 grams of fat, and a
shocking 2441 milligrams of sodium.
If the healthiest-sounding options are terrible for you, is it a surprise people are giving
the whole lot a miss?
According to Nation's Restaurant News, Ruby Tuesday's heyday was in the late '90s and
early 2000s, but it was all downhill from there.
When corporate announced they would be selling in spring 2017, they were the smallest of
the struggling bar-and-grill, casual dining chains.
And that's a problem for them, as they lacked the nationwide name recognition that competitors
like Applebee's and TGI Fridays had going for them.
Even those competitors are struggling, but Ruby Tuesday's small size means they felt
They're the little guy struggling for air on a sinking ship, and when they started feeling
the profits sink, that made them less resilient, less competitive, and less able to even find