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As First National Restaurant Chain to Put Nutritional Information on its Menu, Ruby Tuesday(R) Leads Industry in Responding to the OWG Report

03/12/2004
Statement in Response to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson Press Conference on Restaurant Nutritional Labeling, OWG Report to the FDA

MARYVILLE, Tenn., March 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Earlier this week, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE: RI - ) announced plans to be the first national restaurant chain to provide comprehensive information on all food items on our menu. For all menu items, including appetizers, entrees and desserts, Ruby Tuesday will provide information about total calories, total grams of fat, net grams of carbohydrates and total grams of dietary fiber. We will implement the program in late April throughout our 700 restaurants and lead our industry in responding to the OWG recommendations.

Ruby Tuesday, Inc., clearly supports the recommendations of the FDA's Obesity Working Group regarding restaurant nutritional labeling. In a report issued today, the OWG called for the restaurant industry to "launch a national, voluntary effort to include nutritional information for consumers at the point of sale in order to help consumers make healthier and lower calorie choices outside the home, where Americans now spend nearly half their total food budget."

Ruby Tuesday's initiative meets the OWG short-term recommendation for voluntarily addressing this emerging consumer need. Ruby Tuesday's program also meets the OWG recommendation that information be provided on caloric content and on complete meals.

In rolling out our own program, Ruby Tuesday did extensive research at 25 test restaurants in 12 states. Our survey of more than 3,500 customers told us that 83% of our guests noticed the information, 96% thought it was clearly presented, and 88% said it was the right amount.

Ruby Tuesday stepped forward on this issue because of our strong commitment to providing our guests with healthy menu options and information necessary to make smarter eating decisions. We look forward to sharing our insights with the FDA on this issue that has enormous impact on the health of the American public.

In November, we unveiled our "Smart Eating(SM)" initiative that featured a switch to trans-fat-free canola oil for cooking, more than 30 new menu items for carb-conscious diners, and emphasis on our signature salad bar, the only one among national casual-dining chains. Next month, we plan on expanding out Smart Eating choices with even more lower-fat, lower-calorie, and healthy items.

About Ruby Tuesday

The Ruby Tuesday concept was born more than 30 years ago, when current Chairman and CEO Sandy Beall opened the first restaurant near the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Since then, the company has grown to more than 700 company-owned and franchised restaurants in 39 states and the District of Columbia, 30,000 team members, and operations in locations around the world. Ruby Tuesday, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RI - ). More information about the company and the "Smart Eating" initiative can be found at www.rubytuesday.com

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information*

This press release contains various "forward-looking statements" which represent the Company's expectations or beliefs concerning future events, including the following: future financial performance and unit growth (both Company-owned and franchised), future capital expenditures, future borrowings and repayment of debt, and payment of dividends. The Company cautions that a number of important factors could, individually or in the aggregate, cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, the following: consumer spending trends and habits; mall-traffic trends; increased competition in the casual- dining restaurant market; weather conditions in the regions in which Company- owned and franchised restaurants are operated; consumers' acceptance of the Company's development prototypes; laws and regulations affecting labor and employee benefit costs; costs and availability of food and beverage inventory; the Company's ability to attract qualified managers, franchisees and team members; changes in the availability of capital; impact of adoption of new accounting standards; and general economic conditions.