Ruby Tuesday has closed 51 locations this year

The casual-dining chain has said little about its next CEO following the departure of Ray Blanchette.
Photograph by Jonathan Maze

The next CEO of Ruby Tuesday will be overseeing a smaller chain than the one their predecessor operated.

The casual-dining chain appears to have closed a total of 51 locations this year, according to an analysis of the location count on the company’s website, where 507 U.S. restaurants are listed, to go with 44 international restaurants. The company had 558 restaurants at the end of last year and 42 international units.

Sales have been falling, too. According to Technomic Transaction Insights data, the chain’s sales are down 8.2% year over year so far in 2018, with traffic having fallen 6.9%.

Meanwhile, the casual-dining chain is looking for a new CEO following the departure of Ray Blanchette, who jumped to larger rival TGI Fridays earlier this month after just nine months at the Maryville, Tenn.-based chain.

The company refused comment for this story.

The decline in unit count has taken place all year long. The chain acknowledged closing 15 locations this spring. There were local reports over the summer of closed individual locations in Watertown, N.Y., and Elkton, Md., as well as in Virginia, New Jersey and in New England, for instance.

It also continues Ruby Tuesday’s steady decline over many years amid a tough market for casual-dining chains, and bar and grill concepts in particular.

The company is half the size it was a decade ago, and has shuttered 166 domestic locations since the end of 2016, according to Technomic data.

In January, company executives hinted that restaurants would need to be profitable to remain open. “All restaurants have to contribute to four-wall EBITDA,” Blanchette said at the time, referring to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

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