Casual-dining operator Ruby Tuesday is taking a bigger step into the fast-casual segment with an agreement to license the Lime Fresh Mexican Grill brand.
According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ruby Tuesday, which is based in Maryville, Tenn., signed a master license agreement with LFMG International LLC, the franchisor of the Lime Fresh brand, on Sept. 13.
Ruby Tuesday plans to develop up to 200 Lime Fresh units in a territory east of the Mississippi River, but excluding the state of Florida.
Lime Fresh is the third foodservice brand Ruby Tuesday has taken on this year. Earlier, the company said it would convert some underperforming namesake units to the Jim ‘N Nicks Bar-B-Q brand, the first of which opened in Knoxville, Tenn., on Tuesday. The Southern barbecue chain is based in Birmingham, Ala., and currently includes 28 units.
Ruby Tuesday also holds development rights to the Hilton Head, S.C.-based Truffles Café, a three-unit upscale-casual concept reportedly owned by chief executive Sandy Beall’s brother, Price Beall.
In addition, Ruby Tuesday acquired the now two-unit, fast-casual Wok Hay Fresh Asian Diner concept about three years ago.
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The newest development agreement is expected to significantly expand the Lime Fresh chain — known for its burritos, house-made salsas, humanely raised meat and lively atmosphere.
Founded in South Beach in 2004, Lime Fresh has six units open — two of which are company owned — with another two franchise locations scheduled to open before the end of the year.
Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].