Ruby Tuesday to expand brunch test

Ruby Tuesday to expand brunch test

MARYVILLE Tenn. Casual-dining company Ruby Tuesday Inc. will expand its test of Sunday brunch to hundreds of locations this weekend, officials said Thursday.

The move into the breakfast daypart by the dinnerhouse chain could provide a jolt to sales at a time when restaurants are struggling to entice consumers to spend more on dining out. Ruby Tuesday had tested the weekend brunch offering at a handful of corporate restaurants earlier this year and expanded that test to about 50 locations this summer after receiving positive guest feedback.

According to research from securities analyst Bob Derrington at Morgan Keegan & Co., the brunch menu includes four courses including made-from-scratch country biscuits, a Berry Good Yogurt Parfait, an entree selection and Gourmet Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert. There are 10 different entree choices with prices ranging between $9.99 and $13.99, including Mini Steak Benedicts at $11.99, a Mini Benedicts Trio at $13.99, Silver Dollar Short Stacks at $10.99, and three different Sunrise Quesadillas, which are priced from $11.99 to $12.99. Two brunch meals for kids are priced at $4.99 each.

Ruby Tuesday's brunch menu also includes cocktails, such as sangria, mimosas and a Cajun Mary. Nonalcoholic drinks include made-to-order lemonades, fruit teas and a Tropical Sunrise, which blends mango, pineapple, orange juice and a touch of grenadine.

“To borrow a baseball metaphor, while we would not characterize the brunch as a home run-driver of same-store sales growth, we do believe it represents one in a series of initiatives – singles and doubles – [that] management continues to explore to further leverage sales within its system,” Derrington said in his report. “Ultimately, we believe initiatives like these will build on our projection for Ruby Tuesday’s same-store sales to improve through this fiscal year and into next.”

Maryville, Tenn.-based Ruby Tuesday Inc., which operates or franchises the 900-unit chain, reported last month a 7.9-percent decline in corporate same-store sales and a 6.6-percent drop in franchised same-store sales for its fiscal year ended June 2. Guest traffic was trending positive in the company’s final quarter, and Ruby Tuesday has said it expects same-store sales to fall between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent for its fiscal 2010.

To execute the weekend brunch offering, restaurants would open two hours earlier than normal, at 9 a.m., and serve just brunch until 11 a.m. For one more hour, from 11 a.m. until noon, both the brunch menu and regular menu would be available to guests.

Ruby Tuesday has been offering buy-one, get-one free coupons for both dinner and brunch in markets where the brunch is available.

Contact Sarah E. Lockyer at [email protected] [3].