For over 30 years, Ruby’s has been redefining what it means to serve classic Americana cuisine in a diner that looks like it belongs in the 1940s. Between the brand’s commitment to providing the best for its guests when it comes to both food and customer service, it’s clear why consumers and entrepreneurs alike are attracted to Ruby’s unique system.
That one of a kind model was first dreamed up in 1982 by Doug Cavanaugh after he finished a long run on the beach. He noticed a dilapidated building at the end of Balboa Pier, and recognized that its architecture lent itself to a 1940’s diner. So, after a little encouragement from his father, he decided to make that diner come to life.
Cavanaugh had an advantage when building that first Ruby’s location—he already had experience in the restaurant management industry. Before launching the now growing franchise system, Cavanaugh successfully restored and ran a restaurant on Nantucket Island off of Cape Cod. He leveraged that previous experience while building and growing Ruby’s, ultimately enabling him to ramp up development at a more efficient pace.
“I was really able to hit the ground running as soon as the idea for Ruby’s popped in my head. Because I had been through a restaurant renovation before, I knew what steps to take and which ones to avoid in order to ensure success,” said Cavanaugh. “When it came time to scale the business and launch Ruby’s franchise concept, I wanted to build a strong support team that also brought their own experience to the table. I couldn’t be happier with the team that we have leading the brand now—their expertise is what fuels Ruby’s ongoing development efforts.”
Franchisees who sign on to open up a Ruby’s Diner in their local community gain access to a strong support system that extends far beyond Cavanaugh. The operations team, for example, is made up of experienced professionals who know what it takes to successfully see a restaurant through from construction all the way to a grand opening.
Mark Lyso, Ruby’s COO, has also served as VP of franchise development for PizzaRev Franchising, LLC and director of franchise development for Sizzler USA, which are both California-based brands. He also helped grow Famous Dave’s from 2 to 175 units. Ruby’s VP of operations and EVP of franchise development Tad Belshe—who has been with the brand since 2012—also came to Ruby’s with previous experience as VP of operations for The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove, California, a sister company of Ruby’s. And the brand’s director of operations Michael Beruman is a restaurant professional with over 20 years of experience in restaurant management, training and development.
“The team that we’ve assembled at Ruby’s Diner is second to none. I’ve never worked with a more talented and passionate group of people—our backgrounds all combine to create a great learning environment for our franchisees,” said Lyso. “Our goal as the people leading Ruby’s operations is to support our local owners in any way that they need. The lines of communication are always open—from best practices to solving problems, we’re here to help.”
Ruby’s has also brought in talented financial, research and development and marketing personnel to support its franchisees. Ralph Kosmides, Ruby’s CFO, has held his position since 2005 and has been a director and secretary of Ruby’s FS since 1990, meaning that he knows the brand inside and out. Ruby’s director of R&D Nick Profeta also rose through the ranks at Ruby’s—he previously served as the development and facilities coordinator. And Stacy Lee, director of marketing, has in-depth knowledge of social media marketing with an expertise in identifying emerging market trends.
“We all offer expertise that’s completely unique. Whether it’s getting down to the core of Ruby’s messaging or knowing how to connect with consumers in a way that’s meaningful to them, we all work together to further the growth and success of the Ruby’s brand,” said Lee. “We’re in this business together with our franchisees, which is why we give them all the tools and resources that they need to get their restaurants up and running. As our team continues to grow—both on the corporate and franchisee sides of the business—we’re confident that bringing in only the best candidates will continue to drive our success.”