Resting in the oasis of the college woods, the Ruby Tuesday Lodge (RT Lodge) is one of the more breathtakingly beautiful buildings on campus. Commonly known as a popular wedding location, the RT Lodge is something out of a fairy tale with its glowing tree lights, big white tents, and weaving stepping stone paths.
Until recently, the RT Lodge was only open to Ruby Tuesday corporate events and private group reservations. However, starting this August the RT Lodge opened its doors to the public for both dining services and hotel stays.
Starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday and 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the restaurant doors are open to the public.
Gary Doyle, the General Manager, said in a statement for the Daily Times “We thought, ‘well, if that many people wanted to come out here and have dinner, why not open it when we don’t have group activity?’”
In September, the Ruby Tuesday Corporation sold its Maryville corporate headquarters location on Church Avenue. The building was sold to the clothing company Altar’d State, originally based out of Knoxville. Employees will begin moving into a new headquarters in early 2017.
While the city of Maryville welcomes Altar’d State, there was still initial concern for what would become of the RT Lodge. Along with the Ruby Tuesday corporation move, 19 employees were laid off. However, these changes did not affect any of the 14 student workers currently employed by the RT Lodge.
Caroline Stuart, senior at MC, has worked at the RT Lodge for two and half years.
“As far as the changes within the Ruby Tuesday Corporation, the RT Lodge was hardly affected,” said Stuart. “If anything, our establishment keeps impressing the higher-ups of the company.”
In fact, the Lodge’s success this past year has increased the workload of many of the servers, prompting it to employ eight new full-time members of the serving staff. “The Restaurant at the RT Lodge has brought in a lot of extra business that we, the service staff, are not quite used to,” said Stuart.
While the changes to the RT Lodge may cause more of a workload for the students, there is still an overall positive and productive work atmosphere that the students love.
“The people I work with and the people I work to make smile are my all-time favorite satisfactions from the position,” said Stuart. “The entire staff at the Lodge is a very tight-knit group, enough to call each other the ‘Lodge Fam.’”
The opportunity to work as a server at a highly booked and praised venue is a valuable experience for students like Stuart who would like to pursue a career in accommodation establishments after college. Stuart intends on making her career in the hospitality and tourism field, and already has interviews with a number of high-end establishments across the country.
“The entire staff is the reason I come to work, but the people I get to accommodate and make happy are the reason I stay. What job is better than that?” said Stuart.