Monday, July 15, 2019

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

I told my readers to "stay tuned" at the end of John Oliver examines Amazon warehouses for Prime Day, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse, because "I have more on the Retail Apocalypse, as Brick Immortar uploaded a video on how the demise of malls is decimating Ruby Tuesday's and other bar-and-grill restaurants," but only after I wrote about Bastille Day.  The French national day is over and I posted Drink to a drum corps Bastille Day with the Boston Crusaders playing "Les Miserables", so it's time for me to follow through.

I'm beginning at the end of a story with Ruby Tuesday - Are Chain Restaurants The Next TO GO?: Lifeless Retail Food Edition!

Ruby Tuesday is one of many American chain restaurants that's just not faring well in recent times. Here's our look at a few that recently shuttered along with a glimpse at the bigger picture for these style of chains.
One would think that restaurants would be immune from online shopping, the usual suspect in the death of brick-and-mortar retail, and they are, at least from the direct effects.  However, as I point out to my students, everything is connected to everything else, so dead malls no longer bring in foot traffic, which means the restaurants inside them no longer have customers, so they close.  As Brick Immortar pointed out, Ruby Tuesday relied a lot on mall locations, so the Retail Apocalypse hurt them.  At least the two locations nearest me are still open, along with 489 others as of the start of the year, so the chain is not in immediate danger of going away everywhere, even if it's left most of Iowa and Nebraska, the home territory of Brick Immortar.

Also, reinventing a retail brand doesn't always work, as Brick Immortar also noted in Shopko liquidating, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and repeated here.  I saw that happen with Bill Knapp's, which tried to reinvent itself with the slogan "That was then, this is WOW!"  That fell flat on its face and the chain, after first reversing course by proclaiming "the tradition is back," closed down for good a few years later in 2002.  All that's left of the brand are their cakes and donuts.

Other bar-and-grill format chain restaurants are closing as well.  The one that affected me most was the closure of Champps nearby.  My wife and I been going there since we moved into the area four years ago.  Then, one day I drove past and it was closed.  Perhaps I should consider myself lucky to have enjoyed it as long as I did; the other three locations in Metro Detroit closed in 2016 when the parent firm declared bankruptcy.

I wrote that I was beginning at the end of a story.  Follow over the jump for what I would like to think was my part in inspiring the video above.

A tweet by Retail Archeology makes for a convenient starting point.
I've noticed an increase in grocery store closures lately. They seem to be the next casualty of the retail apocalypse.
I responded by looking past grocery stores.
After grocery stores/supermarkets, the next casualty might be chain restaurants. @BImmortar [Brick Immortar] has noticed a lot of Ruby Tuesdays closing in his neck of the woods, for example.
That got Brick Immortar's attention.
Yeah, most Ruby Tuesday's shuttered practically overnight here in the Midwest.
This could also like speak to delivery/pickup just like groceries. And when your lunch menu is priced so low, those busy lunch hours in industrial/commerce areas don't mean jack.
That exchange happened on July 5th.

Brick Immortar didn't forget my comment, mentioning me in a tweet on July 7th.
#Saladbar doesn't look all that fresh anymore at #RubyTuesdays

#LifelessRetail #Retail #Restaurant #Abandoned #Urbex #Midwest #Photography @Ret_Archaeology @pinkusensei

No, it doesn't look fresh anymore.

He then posted the video on July 10th.  I'd like to think I helped inspire it.

Speaking of the video, I made a promise in a comment to it.
Pinkusensei from Twitter here.  Thanks for uploading this.  I'll be sure to use this in one of my blog posts later this month.
Here I am, keeping my promise.

Speaking of promises, I'm still working on an update of On The Issues's rating of Democratic candidates that I promised in Senators and Representatives running for the Democratic nomination are drifting to the left as they campaign.  Stay tuned.


  1. I'm saddened to hear that Ruby Tuesday's is "under the pump" as they say here. When my daughter was young, the Ruby's at the mall close to where I lived in Port Charlotte, Fla. was a favourite because of its broccoli cheese soup.

    X #1 insisted on raising Blaze as a vegetarian (as the X was, except for occasional lapses into tuna salad, for which she had an odd weakness.) I did not object, because it IS a more moral way to live. And Blaze luuuuuuved that soup at Ruby's. Even when she was sick with a cold (or stress from a nasty divorce/visitation battle) I could get her nourished with broccoli cheese. And Ruby's had a decent AYCE salad bar for me. Many a happy meal was had there. The Twitpicture of the wood interior made me flash back to those bygone days in the 1990s.

    I even noticed a Ruby's Down Undahere in a toney part of town after I re-immigrated, although I never went there (too many other great stand-alone restos to try!) It appears to have closed in 2014. Meanwhile, because you're interested in music, here's a trivial story about an Ozzie band who battled the Ruby Korporate Kopyright Squattocracy over the name, and WON! FWIW, I had never heard Word One about the band or the legal stoush until Oogling around for the location of the local Ruby's, but it seemed interesting...

    1. Yum, broccoli cheese soup. My favorite place to get that is Panera Bread, which is in a segment of the restaurant market, fast-casual, as casual full-service restaurants are having their issues.

      Your ex#1 would still be a vegetarian even if she ate tuna salads, as she was a piscavorian. My ex-roommates were those, and still considered themselves vegetarian. They were also anime fans, so they were following the example of their cultural idols, the Japanese.

      I think you forgot the link in your last paragraph.

    2. Well, people can consider themselves whatever they want, but if you eat meat, poultry or fish, you are not a vegetarian. Some vegetarians eat eggs, dairy and honey, but vegans eat none of those. But fish? You're just someone who eats lots of veggies with fish on the side.

    3. Oh, look, a heckler. At least you're not a spammer, a climate denier, or a general troll, which makes you a step above all of them. That written, you didn't have to live with my roommates. I did, and I decided to go along with them, at least on this count.

    4. Don't know what happened to the link -- I must have left out a quotation mark or something, because it still lit up in blue due to the < a > part -- but let's try that again, in its "naked" form:

      As for the VegEx, she'd almost never succumb to "tunamptation" except when she was stressed or depressed (which DID happen a lot, because she was a classic Borderline Personality Disorder character. Too bad I didn't learn about BPDs until after I changed careers to nursing and was working at a psychiatric facility. Teaching people how to spot Borderlines, or better yet, identify the traits within themselves, should be a mandatory life skill, IMHO.) I might have seen Barbara eat tuna sandwiches two or three times during the four years we were together, so I consider her a legit veggo. I agree with the unknown heckler's definition, but it did not apply to that ex, even with all her other drawbacks.

      We ate a LOT of imitation meat products from Morningstar Farms such as fake bacon, "Grillers" soy burgers and other hippie/health food provedores. And cheese! We were "fettuccine Alfredo" vegetarians, not "beans and rice" veggos.

    5. Thanks for the link. That was a hilarious and inspiring story.

      I'm glad I'm married to a psychologist. She can spot people with BPD a mile away. She and I are also good at spotting narcissists.

      Sounds like the two of you were high-class vegetarians!