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Ruby Tuesday uses a virtual concept as a dine-in draw

Selected items off Libby's BBQ menu will be offered on-site and for takeout through the summer.
Photo courtesy of Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday is turning its virtual barbecue concept into a hook for more dine-in business.

The casual-dining chain said Tuesday that it will offer several items off the menu of Libby’s BBQ for a limited time to on-site customers as well as patrons ordering delivery through Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats or  Postmates. The dishes are also available for takeout.

The announcement did not indicate if Libby’s will continue to function as a stand-alone delivery-only brand after the on-site offer’s scheduled conclusion in September. It currently has its own website, though customers are directed to place orders through one of the big four delivery services.

Five of Libby’s specialties are also being promoted under that name on Ruby Tuesday’s site. Patrons can order Libby’s signature sides—coleslaw, baked beans and potato salad—as well as Ruby’s fries or potato tots.

Libby’s offers ribs for delivery, but its version is not part of the in-restaurant promotion. Wings are one of Ruby’s signature items, along with a salad bar and burgers.

The promotion of Libby’s menu as a limited-time offer is the latest instance of operators tweaking the standard virtual-concept model. Earlier this week, Dickey’s BBQ  disclosed plans to turn its 4-month-old Wing Boss virtual concept into a 1,500-square-foot brick-and-mortar operation, complete with a bar, seats and flatscreen TVs. The previously delivery-only brand is offered through 70 Dickey’s units at present.

Chili’s parent Brinker International has hinted that it may try a brick-and-mortar version of its virtual brand, It’s Just Wings.

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