Sumter's Ruby Tuesday closes permanently amid coronavirus struggles


One of Sumter’s first major chain restaurants is no more in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus. 

Former Ruby Tuesday acting General Manager Lester Jenkins confirmed the permanent closure of the restaurant at 1135 Broad St. on Monday.

He said the chain’s last day of operation was about a week ago, Sunday, March 22.

After Gov. Henry McMaster ordered for all restaurants in the state to cease dine-in services because of the pandemic starting March 18, Ruby Tuesday went to just to-go orders like all other restaurants, but it was not financially sustainable, Jenkins said.

Ruby Tuesday had operated in Sumter since 1997, he said. Jenkins added that he helped open the restaurant and initially worked as a line cook/chief.

About 25 employees were affected with the closing, according to Jenkins.  

Jenkins said about 70 chains across the U.S. have been closed in the wake of COVID-19. On Thursday, The Aiken Standard reported one of the county’s two Ruby Tuesday’s had closed.  

The Sumter Item  contacted Ruby Tuesday’s corporate office via email and telephone on Monday but didn’t receive a response.

Phone calls to the Broad Street restaurant Monday were answered with this message: “We're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service."  

The Sumter location also is no longer listed as one of the restaurant’s locations on its website.

Ruby Tuesday’s headquarters is in Maryville, Tennessee.

The chain's restaurants feature American cuisine served in a casual setting. The eateries also are known for their large salad bars.

In 2016, Ruby Tuesday closed 95 of its restaurants due to falling revenues.

To see a list of local restaurants that are open for to-go orders, click here.