With 35 thriving locations, Ruby’s looks to increase reach throughout southern U.S.
Even with locations sprinkled throughout the continental U.S., Ruby’s Diner has largely been a regional franchise for the past 35 years since its founding in southern California. But now, the classic diner concept is looking to expand its reach from the west coast to the east coast, focusing mainly on southern cities like Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; Houston, Texas and Denver, Colorado.
“Ruby’s has customers who’ve literally grown up with the brand, and that legacy is evident in southern California,” said Ruby’s Diner COO Mark Lyso, who comes armed with 17 years of franchise industry experience. “Though Ruby’s atmosphere is set in the 1940s, it’s clear that the concept has remained strong and relevant. We’re confident that Ruby’s will be well received throughout the south, given that many of the markets we’re targeting are similar demographically.”
What’s really unique about the Ruby’s concept is that it can morph to fit into any footprint, whether that be a stand-alone restaurant or a location in a mall food court, airport or casino. It’s rare for a restaurant concept to not require a specific square footage, and Ruby’s adaptability opens up a breadth of possibilities for franchisees. The ideal Ruby’s Diner franchisee is a multi-unit operator who has the infrastructure in place to grow Ruby’s in a market and control market share.
Purchasing a Ruby’s Diner location includes a franchise fee of $45,000, with start-up costs ranging from $737,500 to $1,922,000. According to Lyso, Ruby’s hopes to establish a presence in its target markets in the next 18 to 24 months. To kick off the brand’s growth eastward, Ruby’s is already working with a franchisee to open a new location in the Outlets at Anthem, which is located just north of Phoenix.
“Our plan is to start with markets closest to southern California, like Denver and Phoenix, and then continue growing toward the east from there,” said Annie Thatsanaphonh, Ruby’s Diner franchise development coordinator. “By methodically growing from the west coast to the east coast, we’re ensuring franchisees will continuously have nearby support and marketing collateral. It’s a hub and spoke mentality.”
From first opening the restaurant in a small, 45-seat space in 1982 to becoming a west coast staple, Ruby’s Diner boasts a classic diner experience that keeps lifelong customers satisfied while also attracting new ones.
“Burgers, fries and shakes are still very Americana,” says Ruby’s Diner founder and CEO Doug Cavanaugh. “We’ve kept a focus on the quality of food at the core of our restaurants, and we offer classic options in a family environment that allow Ruby’s to really fit into any market. We’re starting out with southern states because it’s a demographic we’re very familiar with. But truly, the skies the limit. If we’ve learned anything since opening the first Ruby’s, it’s that good food and friendly service are universal.”