Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE: RT) today announced fourth quarter and fiscal year 2016 financial results for the periods ended May 31, 2016 and provided a fiscal year 2017 outlook. The Company also announced plans to streamline the organization, improve financial profitability, and create long-term value for shareholders through its Fresh Start initiative.
The Fresh Start initiative will be achieved through the execution of several key strategies including an Asset Rationalization Plan along with programs to improve the food and beverage offering, dining environment and service at its namesake brand through a Fresh New Menu, Fresh New Garden Bar, and Fresh Experience. These initiatives will be rolled out in phases across multiple markets throughout the coming quarters.
JJ Buettgen, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Our fourth quarter was impacted by softness in the casual dining industry and increased promotional activity by our peers. Given that we expect the macro environment to remain challenging for some time, we are taking the necessary steps to change the trajectory of our business.”
Buettgen continued, “Our Fresh Start Initiative has been designed to streamline our organization through asset rationalization, improve financial profitability, and ultimately create long-term value for shareholders. Our Fresh New Menu, Fresh New Garden Bar, and Fresh Experience initiatives will position us to accelerate traffic and will be supported by better in-restaurant execution, refining our media and targeting plans, and incorporating the insights from our Garden Bar and remodel tests into our go forward strategy. Through our goal of attracting more women and young families as well as increasing visits from our current Ruby Tuesday guests, we believe we can return to positive same-restaurant sales, expand restaurant level margins, and increase operating profit.”
Ruby Tuesday recently completed a comprehensive review of its corporate-owned restaurant portfolio and determined that it was in the Company’s best interest to close approximately 95 underperforming restaurants. These locations will cease operations by September 2016. As of May 31, 2016, Ruby Tuesday’s system included 724 restaurants, of which 646 were company-operated. This conclusion, followed a rigorous unit-level analysis of sales, cash flows and other key performance metrics, as well as site location, market positioning and lease status.
Buettgen concluded, "The decision to close restaurants is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our organization. Performance at each of these locations, despite the loyalty of valued guests and the efforts of our dedicated employees, was not meeting expectations. Full-time and part-time employees impacted by closures will be offered positions in nearby restaurants where possible.”
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