Foodservice Equipment Reports

Ruby Tuesday Will Purchase Lime Fresh

Ruby Tuesday is formalizing its ownership of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill and will purchase the 16-unit chain for $24 million. Ruby Tuesday will gain 15 Lime Fresh stores; the Miami chain’s founder John Kunkel, will step down as Lime Fresh CEO but retain ownership of the flagship South Beach, Fla., location.

Maryville, Tenn.-based Ruby Tuesday entered into a licensing agreement with Lime Fresh in September 2010. The following July, Ruby Tuesday expanded the fast-casual chain to its first locations outside Florida, including units in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Alabama.

Ruby Tuesday has licensed 85 franchised restaurants and owns 740 restaurants; it plans to close 27 of its stores. Founder and CEO Sandy Beall said the acquisition will open up new territories for unit and revenue expansion. The new owners tentatively plan to add 20 Lime Fresh locations next year and 30 in fiscal 2014. Tentative plans call for expanding the brand in Florida and throughout the U.S., according to Beall.

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