The Ruby Tuesday casual chain was shortened by 10 restaurants yesterday when its Illinois franchisee abruptly closed all remaining branches in the state.
The stores were operated by RT Midwest Holdings. The franchisee had closed another Ruby Tuesday in the state in March. President Jerry Ruta says on his LinkedIn page that the company was Ruby’s largest U.S. franchisee when it operated 11 stores.
No reason was given for the abrupt closings on Wednesday. Employees of several locations arrived for their shifts to find closure notices on the door.
“As the franchisor of this concept, we went to great lengths in assisting the franchisee to remain open but he has made the decision to close his restaurants,” 718-unit Ruby Tuesday said in a statement released to local media. The franchisor said it will “evaluate opportunities to return to the market in the future.”
It continues to have a presence in 43 states.
The closures are the latest setbacks for the chain, which has been struggling to deliver sustained sales and traffic increases in the years since the brand tried to reposition itself as a higher-end option. Earlier this year, the company backed away from a venture into the fast-casual market by selling its Lime Fresh Mexican Grill business.