MARYVILLE, TENN. — James F. Hyatt, II has been named president and CEO of Ruby Tuesday Inc. He also will become a member of the board of directors. With more than 40 years of leadership experience in the restaurant industry, Hyatt replaces Lane Cardwell, interim president and CEO, who will remain on the board of directors.
Hyatt joins Ruby Tuesday from Church’s Chicken, where he served as CEO from September 2011 to November 2016. Previously, he was president and CEO of Cosi from September 2007 through September 2011. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and chief global operations officer at Burger King, where he had responsibility over 13,000 restaurants and franchisees in more than 65 countries. He also was director of operations for Hardee’s Restaurants Inc. from 1986 to 1990.
“As an industry veteran and proven leader, Jim brings to us a wealth of knowledge and experience, including significant operating expertise in driving sales and profitability,” said Stephen Sadove, non-executive chairman of Ruby Tuesday. “His skillset will be valuable as we evaluate all strategic options and will not alter that process other than to add Jim’s expertise to the board. Should the board elect to remain an independent company following the review, Mr. Hyatt will remain in his role as CEO.”
Ruby Tuesday, which has 607 casual dining restaurants in 41 states, 14 countries and Guam, announced in March it will explore strategic alternatives, including a potential sale or merger of the company. In the recent quarter, Ruby Tuesday posted a loss of $19,805,000, which compared with a loss of $3,086,000 in the year-ago quarter, while total revenues declined nearly 17 percent to $225,732,000 from $271,470,000. The decrease was primarily due to a net reduction of 105 company-owned restaurants as well as a 4 percent decline in same-restaurant sales.
“Ruby Tuesday is an iconic American brand, set apart within the casual dining industry by its unique Garden Bar,” Hyatt said. “I have been both a fan and customer of the brand for many years and I look forward to working with the Board and senior management as we lead the company through its next chapter.”