Ruby’s renews proposal

A food company has proposed bringing a Ruby’s Diner back to the Seal Beach Pier, according to the former manager of the Ruby’s that used to be located there.

“I wanted you to know that Christy Food Service Corporation turned in its revised proposal to re-establish Ruby’s Seal Beach,” according to Art Haack.

The franchisee had previously rescinded a proposal to return Ruby’s to the pier.

Friday, April 12, was the deadline for businesses to submit proposals for providing a family-friendly restaurant to occupy the city-owned space at the end of the beach town’s iconic pier.

“May the best restaurant with the best proposal win,” Haack said.

Community Development Services Director Jim Basham said the Christy Food Service Proposal was the only one the city had received. Seal Beach had previously sought five proposals for the pier space.

Basham said city officials have not yet decided if they will extend the deadline again. He said the city would review its options before making a determination.

Asked why the proposal was resubmitted, Haack said: “The property manager invited me to re-submit through the revised proposal.  Most of the elements were the same in the revised proposal but it had changed with emphases on some elements to be more specific. The first proposal was very, very good.  If it should have been leaked out to my competitor they simply could up the anti on their proposal.  By withdrawing no one could know for sure what my offer would be.”

Ruby’s Diner left the Seal Beach Pier earlier this year after negotiations over a new lease agreement broke down between Seal Beach and Ruby’s Restaurant Group.

Christy Food Service withdrew its proposal for the pier space last month after the city extended the deadline for submitting proposals. First Christy Food Service announced the decision to withdraw in print and then formally notified Pacific West Asset Management. In print, Christy Food Service cited the city’s decision to extend the deadline for receiving proposals as the reason for the decision to withdraw the proposal.

The original lease agreement allowed Ruby’s to end the business relationship and the restaurant chain did just that in December 2012. The CEO of Ruby’s Restaurant Group cited the city’s decision to request proposals for the pier space as  the reason for ending the business relationship.

“We understand that the city has decided to put the lease for the Seal Beach Pier out for RFP (request for proposals),” wrote Ruby’s President and CEO Doug Cavanaugh.

“At this point due to the RFP process, it appears that there may not be a desire to continue with a Ruby’s on the pier,” Cavanaugh wrote.

After Ruby’s closed its doors in January 2013, city officials sent Ruby’s corporate a notice of breach of contract that said Ruby’s had failed to make $400,000 in improvements to the site. At the time, a Ruby’s spokesman disputed the accusation.

Then Seal Beach publicly issued a request for proposals for the pier space. The initial RFP made no mention of improvements, but did require that any restauranteur wishing to do business on the pier include a community service component in the business proposal. At the time, Basham said the city was looking for at least five competing proposals.

The deadline for the RFP was Friday, Feb. 22. Only one proposal was submitted at that time—by Ruby’s franchisee Christy Food Service.

Seal Beach officials then extended the deadline and issued a revised RFP that included a clear requirement for improvements to the city’s property.

Basham said Seal Beach extended the deadline for submitting proposals because the city had received calls from other vendors asking for an extension.

At the same time, the company indicated it would consider resubmitting a proposal to bring a Ruby’s Diner back to the pier.