Casual dining brand Ruby Tuesday has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Maryville, TN-based restaurant chain had been struggling in recent years and had closed several locations. The coronavirus pandemic that forced temporary closures of dining rooms bought further financial pressure.
But CEO Shawn Lederman said in a statement Oct. 7 that the bankruptcy filing “does not mean ‘Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday.'” Rather, “Today’s actions will allow us an opportunity to reposition the company for long-term stability as we recover from the unprecedented impact of Covid-19.”
The chain was founded by Samuel “Sandy” Beall and a few college friends, who opened the first Ruby Tuesday restaurant—Named for the Rolling Stones song—near the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus in 1972. The chain reached about 1,000 locations just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.
Ruby Tuesday operated 540 units in the U.S. in late 2018. Business Insider reported this past August that Ruby Tuesday has closed 169 restaurants since January 2020, and that just 298 Ruby Tuesdays remained open worldwide.