Ruth’s Chris ran a promotion through the summer called Ruth’s Classics, built on several of the steakhouse chain’s most familiar specialties. The signatures were offered in specially priced meals that were intended to turn the heads of bargain hunters, but the chain decided to cut costs by holding back on advertising for the deals. “By and large the promotion was not seen as new to our customers,” acknowledged CEO Mike O’Donnell. All they saw were staples of the menu grouped together.
To make matters worse, O’Donnell added, competitors stepped up their promotions during the same timeframe, dealing Ruth’s “a slight setback” in market share.
During a conference call with investors, officials of the chain disclosed that six units are testing a Bistro menu consisting of items priced from $9 to $19. The limited menu is being offered in the test stores’ bars.