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NRD Capital Appoints Ray Blanchette as Ruby Tuesday’s New CEO

NRD Capital has appointed Ray Blanchette as chief executive officer of Ruby Tuesday, Inc., effective January 8. The private equity firm, which is owned and directed by largely franchisees, bought up the publicly-traded but troubled casual dining firm in a go-private transaction on December 21, 2017.

Blanchette is the successor to Ruby Tuesday’s former CEO and president Jim Hyatt, who was appointed in April of 2017. Ruby Tuesday had been losing customers, same-restaurant sales and profit.

Ruby Tuesday owns 541 restaurants and has 55 franchises in the US and 14 countries. Its new owner, NRD Capital was founded by Aziz Hashim, a multi-unit franchisee of various brands that focuses on franchising firms that it can revitalize. It’s focus is on unit-level economics. The private equity firm has acquired such restaurant franchisors as Ruby Tuesday, Frisch’s Big Boy and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

Blanchette joins Ruby Tuesday from his stint since 2016 as president and CEO of Au Bon Pain, which was acquired by Panera Bread Company last month. From 2007-2015, Blanchette also served as president, chief executive officer and board member of Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc., the parent company of Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tap & Tavern. Blanchette helped launch an initial public offering of Ignite on NASDAQ in 2012.

“With the right product offerings, messaging and execution, the company can once again be top-of-mind with global diners,” said new CEO Blanchette. “I want to thank Aziz and the team at NRD for this fantastic opportunity, and look forward to getting people excited about Ruby Tuesday.”

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email