Ruby Tuesday First National Restaurant Chain to Put Nutritional Information on its Menu
First and Only in Casual Dining to Supply Consumers with Nutritional Information for All Food Items
MARYVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 9, 2004-- In order to help its customers make smarter eating decisions when dining out, Ruby Tuesday®, Inc. (NYSE:RI - ) will be the first national restaurant chain to provide comprehensive nutritional information on all food items on its main menu. The large casual dining chain will offer the nutritional information throughout its 700 restaurants beginning in late April. The program has been in test markets since last month.
Publishing nutritional information is common in the fast-food industry, where it is generally provided on a wall poster or in a brochure but not on menus, but it has not been available at all in casual dining, the fastest growing restaurant category. Ruby Tuesday will be the first restaurant chain in casual dining to provide the information, and the first in any category to make it available on menus so customers can make informed selections.
Ruby Tuesday has become the leader in healthy eating in its category. In November, the company unveiled its "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 the signature salad bar, the only one among national casual-dining chains. Next month, the company will expand its Smart Eating choices with even more lower-fat, lower-calorie, and healthy items.
"We are committed to offering our guests plenty of choices. This means not only providing them with healthier menu options, along with their old favorites, but also offering information they need to make informed decisions," said Sandy Beall, CEO and founder.
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.
"Many of our customers are watching their weight and trying to make healthy choices, but not all our customers are on a diet or on the same diet. The nutritional information we are providing will be useful to those who are watching their fat intake, counting calories, or counting carbs," Beall said.
Linda Golodner, president of the National Consumers League, said that providing nutritional information to those who eat in restaurants is a major step forward. "We applaud Ruby Tuesday for taking this step, and hope consumers will learn to use the information to make healthier decisions" she said.
"People dine at restaurants for many different reasons," explained Ann Kulze, MD, a national health and wellness expert who counsels patients and companies across the country about healthier lifestyle and dietary habits. "For many, a visit to a restaurant marks a special occasion where they want to order something they don't typically eat. For others, restaurant eating is a routine part of their lifestyle, something they do a many times a week. This information will let them match what they order to their lifestyle."
Ruby Tuesday will also provide a Smart Eating Guide that is a supplement to the company's main menu. It will feature information about healthy eating as well as the nutritional information. Unlike the main menu, the Smart Eating Guide will remain on the table throughout the meal, and it will give guests the opportunity to spend more time with the information and read it at their convenience.
"We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from the launch of our Smart Eating initiative in November and from the 25 test restaurants where we have provided nutritional information," Beall noted. "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. Being the first restaurant chain to offer nutritional information is another step in our Smart Eating program that is on-going, with more exciting developments to come."
The nutritional data along with other wellness information will be available on the company website, www.rubytuesday.com in May.
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.
Rick Johnson, 865-379-5791
MS&L Public Relations
Mary Coyle, 212-468-3496