Ruby Tuesday to debut seafood concept next spring

First location planned for Knoxville, Tenn.

Ruby Tuesday Inc. plans to open the first unit of a new casual seafood concept within the next six to nine months, a spokesman said Tuesday.

While Ruby Tuesday is still developing a name and menu for the concept, spokesman Rick Johnson said it would focus on fish and seafood with an expected check average between $12 and $15.

“There is one in the planning stages,” he said. “It will be a full-service, high-quality, casual-dining restaurant.”

Plans call for the new seafood brand to be housed in underperforming Ruby Tuesday units that will be closed and converted. The first location will open near Knoxville, Tenn., close to the company's Maryville headquarters, Johnson said.

During Ruby Tuesday's first-quarter conference call last week, chairman and chief executive Sandy Beall described the new concept as “a more seafood-oriented Ruby Tuesday.”

“Over 23 percent of our guests — almost one in four guests — eat seafood in Ruby Tuesday," he said. "We think it will be good and unique for some conversions, not as a growth vehicle. And it’s very relevant based on what people are eating and their health and so forth.”

The seafood concept will mark the latest restaurant brand that Ruby Tuesday has added to its portfolio in recent months. The company signed a master agreement in September to license the fast-casual Lime Fresh Mexican Grill concept, and earlier this year acquired development rights for the Jim ‘N Nicks Bar-B-Q and Truffles Café brands. Ruby Tuesday also owns the two-unit Wok Hay Fresh Asian Diner fast-casual concept.

MORE: Ruby Tuesday plans to open fast-casual outlets [3]

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected] [4].