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Ruby Tuesday closing restaurants; local effect not known

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday?

The Tennessee-based casual dining chain will close 95 restaurants across the country as part of what it’s calling its “Fresh Start Initiative.” It’s not yet clear whether local restaurants are affected.

The company said it looked at its portfolio of corporate-owned restaurants, analyzed each store’s sales, cash flow, location market position and lease status and decided to close nearly 100 underperforming locations. Those locations will close by September.

Ruby Tuesday has restaurants at 1669 Walden Ave. in Cheektowaga and 3454 McKinley Parkway in Hamburg.

The closures are a “difficult but necessary step” for the company, as it takes “aggressive action” to strengthen the company, according to J.J. Buettgen, Ruby Tuesday’s president, CEO and chairman of the board.

“Performance at each of these locations, despite the loyalty of valued guests and the efforts of our dedicated employees, was not meeting expectations,” he said Friday in a release.

Full- and part-time employees will be offered employment with nearby restaurants where possible, he said.

The company’s Fresh Start Initiatve will also try to address the restaurant’s food and beverage programs, as well as its service. In phases, the company will roll out a new menu, new salad bar and dining experience. The company will test restaurant remodels, as well as ways to drive more traffic, increase return visits and bring in more women and families.

The company’s fourth-quarter earnings results showed a 3.1 percent decline in revenue and a net loss of $50.7 million, or 83 cents per diluted share,

Ruby Tuesday has more than 724 restaurants in 44 states. About 78 stores are franchise owned.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com

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