Ruby Tuesday adds ‘pantry’ option for grocery pickup and delivery

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Struggling restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday has added a “Ruby’s Pantry” option that lets customers stock up on uncocked food and essentials during the coronavirus outbreak.

The company lists a variety of items, many of which appear to be pulled from its menu, in rather larger quantities — such as 5 pounds of broccoli for just under $9. There’s also a Number 10 can (6 lbs. 8 oz.) of sliced beets for $6.24.

Other options include larger batches of lettuce, gallon jugs of milk, various juices, bottled water and raw hamburgers.

The chain notes that selection, availability and pricing will vary.

And, of course, there’s 2 ply toilet paper for 99 cents a roll.

“We know it can be challenging to get the grocery items you need right now. That’s why we’ve created Ruby’s Pantry from Ruby Tuesday,” the company wrote in a Facebook post March 31, 2020 noting that the items can be picked up or delivered.

Ordering is done through the chain’s normal online ordering system, so it appears you could also order to go prepared food at the same time.

The pantry items are heavy on fresh produce — likely culled from restaurants’ inventory used to stock its “Garden Bar” salad bar. Even with take out and to go ordering, offering a self serve salad bar poses a variety of health concerns (plus people are much less likely to pay for an “all you can eat” option like that on to go orders).

Ruby Tuesday locations appear to have been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown — though the chain was in trouble before that — with many locations appearing to close altogether around the same time “stay at home” orders were issued.

Although the company hasn’t confirmed most of those closures, calls to the listed numbers for them often indicate the line has been disconnected and at least some employees have told media outlets they were let go.

Meanwhile, there’s a charity serving Wisconsin and Minnesota with “pop up” pantry that uses the “Ruby’s Pantry” name — and provide a very similar service.

According to the organization’s website, for a suggested donation of $20 anyone can pick up a batch of an “abundance of grocery items,” according to the charity’s website.