Larry Sidoti appointed VP of franchise development as beloved burger chain eyes 20 franchise deals in 2015
The Ruby Restaurant Group, the Irvine, Calif.-based operator of the iconic 1940s-themed family restaurants and 1960s-themed dinettes, has announced the appointment of a seasoned franchising specialist to oversee a big push this year to grow Ruby’s through franchising of a simplified, fast casual model of the family owned and operated brand.
As Ruby’s new vice president of franchise development, Larry Sidoti, who has more than 20 years of experience developing such marquee franchise powerhouses as Yogurtland, Juice it Up and Mrs. Fields Cookies, will oversee this new phase in Ruby’s growth strategy.
“We anticipate awarding 20 franchise deals in 2015,” said Doug Cavanaugh, Ruby’s founder and chief executive officer. “Larry is the perfect person to build on Ruby’s 32-year track record as one of the most successful brands in the highly competitive Southern California restaurant industry. We look forward to introducing Ruby’s classic lineup of burgers, fries and handmade shakes to new markets.”
Ruby’s is not new to franchising and licensing. In addition to its iconic Southern California pier restaurants, Ruby’s currently operates at Terminal 6 at Los Angeles International Airport, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. Ruby’s restaurants are also located in two of Southern California’s premier outlet malls; the Citadel Outlets in Commerce in the greater L.A. area and the Carlsbad Premium Outlets in northern San Diego County.
The 2015 franchising push, however, represents a new business strategy for The Ruby Restaurant Group Cavanaugh said. Franchising territories will be available throughout Southern California and the U.S., including non-traditional sites such as airports, outlet malls, casinos and universities, according to Cavanaugh.
“There are numerous benefits to potential franchise operators,” Cavanaugh said. “We will offer an attractive franchising opportunity in the streamlined version of the Better Burger category, with reduced start-up costs for the smaller, fast-casual Ruby’s model.”
The restaurants will range between 2,000 and 2,500 sq. ft. with room for between 40 and 60 customers at tables and a counter and, like the recently launched Ruby’s Dinettes, will have an early 1960s theme. The new Ruby’s franchises will offer limited beer and wine service and a pared-down menu focusing on the time-tested classic Ruby’s lineup of burgers, fries and handmade shakes.
“With start-up costs expected to range between $458,000 and $1.425 million, our franchise model provides a favorable sales-to-cost ratio,” Cavanaugh said.
Sidoti, a resident of San Clemente, Calif., has a long track record of dramatically improving operations and executive team productivity through franchising. He comes to Ruby’s from Yogurtland Franchising Inc. in Irvine, where in five years he led business development efforts to grow and expand Yogurtland to over 300 stores from 37 stores.
Sidoti had similar success expanding Mrs. Fields Famous Brands and the brand he founded, Juice it Up Franchise Corp., where he spent 13 years. Sidoti earned an MBA from the University of Phoenix and earned his undergraduate degree from Cal State University, Fullerton.
Orange County-based restaurateur Doug Cavanaugh, founder and CEO of Ruby’s Diner, Inc. opened the first Ruby’s in December 1982 on the Balboa Pier, converting a former bait shack into a Streamline Modern diner serving hamburgers, fries, and shakes. He named it after his mother, Ruby. Today there are 40 Ruby’s nationwide. Ruby’s serves breakfast daily at all locations.