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Ruth’s Hospitality Group leans into revamp efforts

Building off sales momentum from the third quarter, Ruth’s Hospitality Group said it will continue to push forward with “Ruth’s 2.0,” a program to update the menu, operations and atmosphere across its Ruth’s Chris brand.

“We are very pleased with the progress so far on the Ruth’s 2.0 initiative,” Ruth’s Hospitality Group CEO Michael O’Donnell said on an earnings call Friday, noting that a menu-refresh test conducted earlier this year was “successful” in appealing to both current frequent customers and those of the next generation.

The new menu will roll out to all company-owned locations during the first quarter of 2016, he added.

The steakhouse company also completed two Ruth’s Chris remodels during Q3, featuring elements such as bar areas that encourage happy hours. Executives said the full remodel program should be finished in three to five years.

Comps at company-owned restaurants increased 3.3 percent year over year during Q3, largely due to higher check averages. Those increased checks, however, were offset somewhat by a 0.5 percent decline in traffic, particularly in the Texas oil markets and high-tourism regions, CFO Arne Haak said.

Net income at the company increased to $2.6 million during the third quarter, up from a $7.3 million loss during the year-ago quarter.

Total revenues for the company increased 8.8 percent, to $80.3 million. 

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