National dining chain Ruby Tuesday is looking at Bellevue as it once again expands westward.
The 729-unit, Tennessee-based casual-dining chain pulled back from locations in the Northwest several years ago, rebranded, and is seeking franchisees in the area as it looks to move back to the area.
“We’re trying to get the word out to strategically targeted areas,” said James Vitrano, vice president of Ruby Tuesday’s franchise development and operations. “We’re talking Colorado, Utah and Washington.”
The closest location to Bellevue of the chain — famous for home-style meals, ribs and a large garden bar — is in Pocatello, Idaho.
According to a press release from the company, “while the brand has largely avoided adding franchised units domestically over the last decade, it is now poised for rapid growth through a refined business model proven by an exclusive group of successful franchise restaurant operators.”
Vitrano said three areas in Washington were particularly attractive.
“We like the Tri-cities, Spokane and we like Bellevue and the Eastside,” he said. “We are looking to reintroduce Ruby Tuesday to Washington.”
Vitrano said the company thrives if franchisees make it a local institution. The company’s highest volume store is in Times Square in New York City, but some of its most consistent locations are in places like rural Alabama. He said the chain is hoping to get somewhere from five to seven stores running on the Eastside sometime soon.
“We had a store open in Gillette, Wyoming, and we had local flair that made it fit in,” he said. “Now I know Bellevue is not Wyoming, but having locals run the store and really make it an Eastside location would be perfect.”
Bellevue’s close proximity to Seattle, affluence and successful demographic make it the next location for the chain’s “laser-like approach,” Vitrano said.
“The brand is trying to come back,” he said. “We got out feet under us after the 2008 recession. This is not your mom’s or your grandma’s Ruby Tuesday. We have rebranded a 44-year-old brand and we are back.”
Interested franchisees can contact the company at email@example.com