Allen B. West

Thanks to Obama, I’m saying goodbye to something else I love…

There are just some things we have grown to love in our lives. We all have our favorite places to eat out and quite sure some of you have fond memories from those places. Well, sadly, thanks to this failing Obama economy, one of my favorites is announcing shut downs.

As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Casual-restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday has closed or is closing about 95 locations, including one in Ashland, as the company reported a net loss and a decline in sales for the fiscal year. 

The Maryville, Tenn.-based chain, known for its salad bars, said Friday that the 95 underperforming restaurant locations will close by September. As of May 31, Ruby Tuesday had 724 restaurants, including 646 that were company-operated. 

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The company said it followed a rigorous unit-level analysis of sales, cash flows and other key performance metrics, as well as site location, market positioning and lease status. 

“The decision to close restaurants is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our organization,” J.J. Buettgen, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said in statement. 

Four locations in Hampton Roads have closed in recent days, The Virginian-Pilot reported Monday. Locations in Bristol, Lynchburg and Roanoke also have closed. 

The closures come as Ruby Tuesday reported Friday that its total revenue fell 3.1 percent for the fiscal year that ended May 31, while same-store sales declined 1.4 percent compared with the prior year. The net loss was $50.7 million compared to a net loss of $3.2 million in the prior fiscal year.

As you read above, Ruby Tuesday’s is based in Maryville, Tennessee, which is right there near Knoxville, Tennessee, founded in 1972. When I was a student there on Rocky Top at the University of Tennessee, taking a date out to Ruby Tuesday’s was serious business, and I mean reflected that you were living in high cotton. Needless to say, word would travel that you had taken a young lady “out on the town” to Ruby Tuesday’s. That was a big-time step up for me who started off as a freshman dining out at Krystal’s chomping down 50-cent cheeseburgers.

Now, as we predicted, restaurant franchisees are finding it hard to survive in the Obama world of increased regulation — by way of Obamacare healthcare costs. In addition, pressures for a $15 minimum wage means that these simple small business owners are facing mounting costs that undermine their very thin margins.

With these increased costs issued from on high by Mssr. Obama, these franchisees and businesses have three choices. They can pass on increased cost to consumers. They can put more individuals on part-time employment. And lastly, as Ruby Tuesday’s evidences, they can go out of business — which means Americans losing jobs.

Consider the fact that Obamacare penalizes businesses that rise above the artificially imposed number of 50 employees and redefines the full-time work week at 30 hours. So we’re seeing more small businesses and franchises keeping their employment numbers under 50 and work hours at 29. Now, I for one certainly understand the free market and how competition makes it necessary for the private sector to innovate and improve their product. But when the small businessperson must compete against a federal government that is issuing edicts — such as the insidious overtime rule by the Department of Justice — that creates an incredible headwind which some cannot overcome.

But think of the Americans who once were employed at these 95 Ruby Tuesday restaurants, what is their future? They now join the ranks of those millions of Americans out of work. And we pray they will not be relegated to becoming part of a workforce participation rate that hovers near a record low for the past 40 years. I would love for someone to ask these people if they would rather be part of the dependency society or gainfully employed. And let’s not forget the teenagers who will lose part-time employment; we know teenage unemployment in America is an epidemic.

Anyone under the delusional misperception that the economy in the United States is thriving, well, they must have been in Colorado recently, smoking something. The federal reserve is doing everything possible to mask the failures of this economy. But when you have closings of chain restaurants such as Ruby Tuesday’s, along with health insurance companies dumping Obamacare, those are indicators that cannot be dismissed. The past three economic quarters our GDP has been struggling at 1% growth; at year seven and a half this is not a positive reflection on Barack Obama’s economy.

And, horrifically so, Hillary Clinton last week just echoed the same policies that indicate a true sense of insanity.

I will never forget my college days dining at Ruby Tuesday’s…and you know what, it was the place where we went as a family after I was commissioned as an Army Second Lieutenant on 31 July 1982. Therefore, I dedicate this song by the venerable rock group the Rolling Stones….Goodbye Ruby Tuesday.

Share with us your fondest Ruby Tuesday memories….

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