By now you’ve probably heard that Ruby Tuesday’s has opened the prototype of its new Marlin & Ray’s concept, or what management has previously described as a seafood version of its namesake brand.
Management hasn’t been forthcoming with details about the first M&R, noting only that it was converted from an old Ruby in Tennessee. But it’s pleased enough to project as many as 14 more conversions during the next fiscal year.
Executive vice president Kimberly Grant told investors that the initial restaurant opened to “higher-than-expected sales.”
CEO Sandy Beall divulged that the store is “very casual, with low rent.”
He added that the company is more excited about the seafood concept’s prospects than it is about the outlook for its other new growth vehicles, which include Truffles, Jim ‘N Nicks, and Wok Hay, all of which are full-service. It’s also developing franchises of a Chipotle-like fast-casual brand, Fresh Lime.
Beall said Ruby’s first Truffles restaurant is “performing fine. Not better than we thought, but it’s fine.”
A Jim ‘N Nick’s unit was converted from a Ruby that generated annual sales of $1.1 million. With the new I.D., the location is running at a $2.2-million annual sales rate, “and we haven’t even started catering yet,” said Beall.
He wasn’t exactly brimming with enthusiasm about Wok Hay, a fast-casual concept that Ruby bought a few years ago and gussied up into a full-fledged casual brand specializing in Asian fare.
Two will open by July, so by fall “we'll know about those and we'll either have something to grow or we'll close us down or convert it with something else too.”