Ruby Tuesday Licenses Lime Fresh

One of the biggest casual-dining chains is entering the fast-casual segment. Ruby Tuesday has inked a deal to open and operate up to 200 fast-casual Mexican restaurants.

Ruby Tuesday signed a licensing agreement in mid-September with LFMG International for the development rights to open and operate units of South Florida-based Lime Fresh Mexican Grill. Ruby Tuesday, based in Maryville, Tenn., has more than 850 company- and franchise-owned locations. Lime Fresh Mexican Grill opened in 2004, and has grown to six South Florida locations with another three in development. Ruby Tuesday expects to open about a dozen over the next several months. During the next few years, it hopes to open up to 200 units in the eastern United States (excepting Florida).

Lime Fresh is Ruby Tuesday’s fourth dining concept outside of its core brand. Three years ago, the company acquired Wok Hay, an Asian bistro concept. Earlier this year, it entered into licensing agreements with Alabama-based Jim ‘N Nicks Bar-B-Q and South Carolina-based Truffles Café.

Ruby Tuesday itself is getter bigger in Hawaii. RT Hawaii Restaurants will open three new Ruby Tuesday restaurants within the next three years. The first unit will open in June ’11. RT Hawaii currently owns and operates four Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Honolulu, Mililani, and Kaneohe.

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