TGI Fridays

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TGI Fridays Franchisor, LLC
TGI Fridays
Company typePrivate
IndustryRestaurants
GenreCasual dining
FoundedMarch 15, 1965; 59 years ago (1965-03-15)
New York City, U.S.
FounderAlan Stillman and Daniel R. Scoggin
HeadquartersDallas, Texas, U.S.[1]
Number of locations
600+ (as of June 2023)[2][3]
233 (U.S. as of 2024)[4]
Area served
Worldwide (except for Sub-Saharan Africa)
Key people
Ray Blanchette (CEO)[5]
ProductsSteaks, chicken, seafood, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, salads[6]
Revenue$2 billion (2021)
OwnerTriArtisan Capital Advisors
Number of employees
11,000 (2021)
Websitetgifridays.com

TGI Fridays Franchisor, LLC, doing business as TGI Fridays,[a] is an American restaurant chain focusing on primarily American cuisine and casual dining.[7] The restaurant's founder said the name stood for "Thank God It's Friday", although as of 2010 some television commercials for the chain have also made use of the phrase, "Thank Goodness It's Friday".[8] TGI Fridays operates over 600 locations in 55 countries,[2][3] including 233 in the United States.[4]

History[edit]

20th century[edit]

TGI Fridays at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's largest airport
The TGI Fridays in Christ Church, Barbados, which opened in November 2010 and closed less than three years later, in August 2013
TGI Fridays in Waterbury, Connecticut in June 2014
The former TGI Fridays logo used until 2013; it is still used in older locations.

In 1965, Alan Stillman opened the first TGI Fridays restaurant in Manhattan. in New York. He lived on 63rd Street between First and York Avenues,[9] in a neighborhood with many airline stewardesses, fashion models, secretaries, and other young, single people on the East Side of Manhattan near the Queensboro Bridge. He hoped that opening a bar would help him meet women. Stillman's choices for socializing were non-public cocktail parties or guys' beer-drinking hangout bars that women usually would not visit; he recalled that "there was no public place for people between, say, twenty-three to thirty-seven years old, to meet." He sought to recreate the comfortable cocktail party atmosphere in public despite having no experience in the restaurant business.[10][9]

With $5,000 of his own money and $5,000 borrowed from his mother,[10] Stillman purchased a bar he often visited, The Good Tavern at the corner of 63rd Street and First Avenue, and renamed it TGI Fridays after the expression "Thank God it's Friday!" from his years at Bucknell University.[11][12]

The new restaurant, which opened on March 15, 1965, served standard American cuisine, bar food, and alcoholic beverages,[9] but emphasized food quality and preparation.[11]

The exterior featured a red-and-white striped awning and blue paint; the Gay Nineties interior included American-made Tiffany-style lamps, mostly by the Somers family,[9] wooden floors, Bentwood chairs, and striped tablecloths; and the bar area added brass rails and stained glass. The employees were young men: handsome jocks in form-fitting red-and-white striped soccer shirts,[11][13] and every time someone had a birthday, the entire restaurant crew came around with a cake and sang TGI Fridays' traditional birthday song. Footage of interviews with patrons from this TGI Fridays was featured in Robert Downey Sr.'s film No More Excuses (1968).[14] The first location closed in 1994[10] and became a British pub called "Baker Street"; the brass rails are still there.[citation needed]

Although Malachy McCourt's nearby eponymous bar preceded TGI Fridays[15] and Stillman credited the media for creating the term, he had unintentionally created one of the first singles bars. It benefited from the near-simultaneous availability of the birth-control pill and Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique:[11][10][9]

I don't think there was anything else like it at the time. Before TGI Fridays, four single twenty-five-year-old girls were not going out on Friday nights, in public and with each other, to have a good time. They went to people's apartments for cocktail parties or they might go to a real restaurant for a date or for somebody's birthday, but they weren't going out with each other to a bar for a casual dinner and drinks because there was no such place for them to go.[9]

TGI Fridays was one of the first to use promotions such as ladies' night,[11] and Stillman achieved his hopes of meeting women; "Have you seen the movie Cocktail? Tom Cruise played me!...Why do girls want to date the bartender? To this day, I'm not sure that I get it."[9] He and the restaurant benefited from its location—according to Stillman, 480 stewardesses lived in the apartment building next door[10]—and received publicity in national magazines. TGI Fridays became so popular that it had to install ropes to create an area for those waiting in line, also unusual at the time for a restaurant. A competitor, Maxwell's Plum, opened across the street, and others soon followed.[9]

With fellow Bucknell University graduate Ben Benson,[12] Stillman opened other restaurants, including Tuesday's, Thursday's, Wednesday's, and Ice Cream Sunday's. Franchising of TGI Fridays began two years after the Manhattan location opened, in Memphis, Tennessee's[9] Overton Square district; that location has since closed.

In 1971, Daniel R. Scoggin acquired the rights to eight major Midwest cities. In 1972, he opened with the first of a new prototype in Dallas. The raised square bar and multilevel dining became the company standard. Dallas doubled the sales and tripled profits of TGI Fridays previous best.[citation needed] Families began visiting the new suburban locations during the day for casual food; "it took six or seven years, but T.G.I. Fridays became a very different animal", Stillman said.[9] Attracted by this performance, he merged into the Dallas franchise forming TGI Fridays, Inc., and Scoggin was the CEO for the next 15 years. Scoggin is credited with the then-new 200 seat prototype as well as many of the TGI Fridays innovations including a large from scratch menu, potato skins, bartender Olympics, and frozen drinks.

In 1975, the company was sold to Carlson Companies. With this sale, Stillman and the original investors departed. Stillman kept the original location, and now married, founded Smith & Wollensky in 1977 with Benson. Scoggin continued as CEO on an earn-out contract and finalized his sale in 1980.[16][10][9][12][17][18]

When the sale was finalized, Scoggin signed a new contract to continue as the company's CEO. When the company was passing through the 100-store mark, it issued an initial public offering in 1983 with Goldman Sachs. Scoggin developed the first international franchise and the template for future international development. The first restaurant was opened in the UK with Whitbread PLC. Prior to Scoggin's departure in 1986, the company was positioned to appeal to a broader consumer profile. Alcohol consumption was de-emphasized, and quality was emphasized over quantity.

The company became privately held again in 1989.[11] The focus was then switched from singles to families.

A brand extension, which features the TGI Fridays concept combined with the atmosphere of a sports bar, called "Fridays Front Row Sports Grill", is found at two Major League Baseball stadiums which each overlook the playing field: Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona and Miller Park in Milwaukee. Friday's Front Row Grill also existed for a few seasons at the Texas Rangers home field, Globe Life Park (now Choctaw Stadium after the Rangers moved across the street to their new home Globe Life Field).

The chain's highest grossing location is at Haymarket in Leicester Square, which opened in 1992 in Central London. The Haymarket branch is also regarded as the most popular branch and is the most successful financially.

21st century[edit]

In October 2009, Haymarket broke the world record for biggest profit made in any week, throughout TGI Fridays' history, and it has been home to several past winners from the bartenders Olympics, a contest started by Scoggin.[19]

On May 20, 2014, TGI Fridays was resold to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners.[20] In October 2019, TriArtisan bought out Sentinel's remaining stake.[21]

In October 2023, the operator of all of the TGI Fridays locations in Brazil, SouthRock Capital, declared itself bankrupt. SouthRock will continue to operate TGI Fridays locations normally while closing a few underperforming ones and will restructure through the bankruptcy procedure.[22]

On January 4, 2024, the chain abruptly closed 36 restaurants and sold eight more to former CEO Ray Blanchette. Most employees were offered opportunities to transfer to other locations.[23][24]

Controversies[edit]

Picture frames on a wall at a TGI Friday's by Glenbrook Mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana in March 2020; this location later closed.
  • In 2013, as part of "Operation Swill", investigators in New Jersey raided 17 TGI Fridays franchised restaurants owned by The Briad Group. They found that the bars were replacing premium brand alcoholic beverages with lower-cost brands yet charging patrons for the more expensive liquor.[25][26]
  • In 2018, a tipping policy change prompted strikes across TGI Fridays restaurants in the United Kingdom as waiting staff took issue with a decision to redistribute 20% of customer tips paid by card to kitchen staff in lieu of a raise.[27][28][29]
  • In 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, TGI Fridays refused to join the international community and withdraw from the Russian market. Research from Yale University, updated on April 28, 2022, identified how companies were reacting to Russia's invasion, and identified TGI Fridays in the category of "Digging In", meaning Defying Demands for Exit: companies defying demands for exit/reduction of activities.[30] TGI Fridays did, however, condemn the invasion and all proceeds from the franchises are being donated to Mercy Chefs, an organisation supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.[31]

Franchises[edit]

TGI Fridays is a franchising operation, with franchisees owning most of the outlets. The largest franchisee is The Briad Group in New Jersey.[32] Whitbread PLC was a major international franchisee. Up until 2007, Whitbread had 45 locations in the United Kingdom.

On January 17, 2007, Whitbread sold operating rights of all 45 restaurants back to T.G.I. Fridays UK Limited (a consortium consisting of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc. and ABN Amro Capital) thus exiting a partnership formed in 1986.[33]

TGI Fridays has also been used as a restaurant for hotels run by Country Inns & Suites by Carlson brand.[citation needed] In 2014 the investment trust Electra Private Equity bought Fridays British subsidiary with 66 sites across the UK. In 2021 Electra spun off its hospitality business ″Hostmore Plc″, which owns Fridays in the UK.[34]

List of countries with TGI Fridays[edit]

Africa[edit]

Country Number of franchises Notes and references
Egypt 4 [35][36]

Americas[edit]

Country Number of franchises Notes and references
Argentina 2 [37]
Brazil 11 [38]
Canada 2 [39]
Chile 2 [40]
Costa Rica 2 [41]
Dominican Republic 2 [42]
Ecuador 3 [43]
Guatemala 3 [44]
Honduras
Jamaica 1 [45]
Nicaragua
Mexico 2 [46]
Panama 8 [47]
Peru 17 [48]
Trinidad and Tobago 4 [49]
United States 292 [50]

Asia[edit]

T.G.I. Friday's in Kuwait City, 2022
TGI Friday's at Robinsons Galleria Cebu in Cebu City
Country Number of franchises Notes and references
Azerbaijan 1
Bahrain 2 [35][36]
China 2
India 3 [51]
Indonesia 7
Japan 15 [52]
Kuwait 10 [35][36]
Malaysia 10 [53]
Philippines 22 [54]
Qatar 3 [35][36]
Russia 1[b] [55]
Saudi Arabia 18 [35][36]
Sri Lanka 2
Taiwan 16 [56][57]
United Arab Emirates 11 [35][36]

Europe[edit]

T.G.I. Friday's in Enfield, London, 2013
Country Number of franchises Notes and references
Belarus
Cyprus 9 [58]
Greece 9 [59][60]
Hungary 2 [61][62]
Iceland
Ireland 2 [63]
Netherlands 0 (bankruptcy) [64]
Norway 4
Russia 13[b] [65]
Spain 13 [66]
Sweden 3 (bankruptcy) [67][68]
United Kingdom 86 [69]


Oceania[edit]

Country Number of franchises Notes and references
Australia 20 [70]
Guam 1 [71]

Planned markets[edit]

Country Notes and references
New Zealand [72]
Singapore [73]

Design[edit]

The newer TGI Fridays franchises (as well as redesigned restaurants) are more contemporary, with wallpaper, granite exteriors, and red-and-white striped lamps instead of Tiffany. The exteriors have stucco, the entrance doors have F-shaped handles, and a metal cup above the door has a stripe saying "In Here, It's always Friday". The logo design was evolved in 2013 by Jane MacDowall and her creative team in Scotland. Most TGI Fridays have a propeller and a rowing scull on display as part of their antiques, which are actually a part of a story told to all TGI Fridays employees; the scull always contains a pair of saddle shoes and a bottle of champagne to remind employees of the value of teamwork, leadership, and celebrating success. The propeller is always above or near the bar. The thought is that the bar "propels" the restaurant.

Menu[edit]

Fridays has a large menu with an emphasis on alcoholic beverages.[74] These drinks come in liquid as well as frozen form and TGI often runs specials or creates unique drinks based on seasonality and location.

TGI Fridays formerly served Atkins-approved appetizers, entrées, and desserts. In 2006, the Atkins name was removed from the menu, but the restaurant continues to offer both low-carbohydrate and low-fat menu items. The UK and US menus offer gluten-free items.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Originally and sometimes still stylized on corporate materials and locations as T.G.I. Friday’s or T.G.I. FRiDAY’S
  2. ^ a b There are 14 TGI Fridays franchises in Russia, 13 of which are in European Russia (all of which are in Moscow) while the remaining one is in Asian Russia (this restaurant is located in Yekaterinburg).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "TGI Fridays trims staff, shifts corporate office from Carrollton to 'fun' space in Dallas". March 11, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Franchise Opportunities". TFI Fridays. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "TGI Fridays announces chief executive officer transition" (PDF). TGI Fridays. October 2, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b "TGI Fridays Restaurant Locations". locations.tgifridays.com. Retrieved January 7, 2023.
  5. ^ "Ray Blanchette has another new job—this time as TGI Fridays CEO".
  6. ^ "TGI Fridays Restaurant & Bar". www.tgifridays.com.
  7. ^ "Sentinel in talks to sell TGI Fridays's stake". PE Hub. Archived from the original on November 4, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  8. ^ TGI Fridays Restaurants Timeline Archived January 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Twilley, Nicola; Ninivaggi, Krista (November 15, 2010). "A Cocktail Party In The Street: An Interview With Alan Stillman". Edible Geography. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Patton, Phil (December 1994). "AGENTS of CHANGE". American Heritage. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Prewitt, Milford (March 29, 1993). "Stillman: Fridays filled a generation's need". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  12. ^ a b c Witchel, Alex (December 30, 2008). "A Grown-Up Takes the Long View". New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  13. ^ Simonson, Robert (2016). A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-60774-754-3. OCLC 933567553.
  14. ^ Koresky, Michael (May 22, 2012). "Eclipse Series 33: Up All Night with Robert Downey Sr". Criterion Collection. Retrieved July 16, 2019. Codirected with Downey's sometime editor Robert Soukis, it was originally conceived as a showcase for footage left over from a five-minute ABC news segment Downey had been hired to shoot about the singles-bar scene on New York's Upper East Side (including the original T.G.I. Friday's). In these segments, the offscreen director asks various partiers, in clubs and on the street, their thoughts about the "so-called sexual revolution."
  15. ^ Schneider, Daniel B. (December 27, 1998). "F.Y.I". New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  16. ^ "Granddaddy of singles bars: a look at T.G.I. Fridays today". Nation's Restaurant News. September 1, 1986. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  17. ^ Handbook of Marketing Research Methodologies for Hospitality and Tourism, Dr. Ronald A. Nykiel, 2007
  18. ^ High Profile, "Dan Scoggin", The Dallas Morning News, Sunday, January 27, 1985, Section E
  19. ^ Martin, Richard (April 18, 1994). "TGI Fridays forges ahead in 'unfriendly' territory – Europe". Nation's Restaurant News. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014.
  20. ^ "Fridays, Red Lobster: Casual dining for sale". America's Markets (USA Today). Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  21. ^ "Sentinel in talks to sell TGI Fridays's stake". PE Hub. Archived from the original on November 4, 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  22. ^ "Brazil court okays bankruptcy protection for TGI Fridays, Starbucks operator". Nasdaq. December 12, 2023. Retrieved December 14, 2023.
  23. ^ Valinsky, Jordan (January 4, 2024). "TGI Friday's abruptly closes 36 'underperforming' restaurants | CNN Business". CNN. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  24. ^ Tenser, Phil (January 4, 2024). "No more Fridays: Restaurant chain closes nearly half of Mass. locations". WCVB. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  25. ^ Morley, Hugh (May 22, 2013). "N.J. raids restaurants in Bergen, Passaic counties in liquor scam probe". NorthJersey.com. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  26. ^ Gingras, Brynn (May 23, 2013). "13 TGI Fridays in New Jersey Accused of Faking Premium Liquor". NBC 4 New York. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  27. ^ Butler, Sarah (May 18, 2018). "TGI Fridays staff go on strike in UK's first dispute over tipping". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  28. ^ Turak, Natasha (May 18, 2018). "TGI Fridays staff stage walkout in the UK over tips dispute, threaten 'summer of disruption'". CNBC. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  29. ^ "TGI Fridays: Taking Food From the Mouths of Workers". tribunemag.co.uk. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  30. ^ "Over 750 Companies Have Curtailed Operations in Russia—But Some Remain". Yale School of Management. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  31. ^ "TGI Fridays Statement on Restaurants in Russia" (PDF).
  32. ^ "The Briad Group". Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  33. ^ "Media > Press Releases > Archive". Archived from the original on October 30, 2007. Retrieved December 15, 2007.
  34. ^ "Our Story | Hostmore plc". Hostmore.
  35. ^ a b c d e f "فروعنا" (in Arabic). January 24, 2017.
  36. ^ a b c d e f "Store Locator". November 18, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  37. ^ "Locales" (in Spanish).
  38. ^ "Encontre a gente" (in Portuguese).
  39. ^ "Niagara Falls Restaurant | TGI Fridays Niagara Falls". www.tgifniagara.com.
  40. ^ "Locales" (in Spanish).
  41. ^ "Tiendas" (in Spanish).
  42. ^ "Sucursales" (in Spanish).
  43. ^ "Fridays". www.tgifridays.ec.
  44. ^ "Fridays" (in Spanish).
  45. ^ "Home | TGI Fridays". TGI Fridays™ Jamaica. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  46. ^ "Elige tu Fridays" (in Spanish).
  47. ^ "Sucursales" (in Spanish).
  48. ^ "Locales" (in Spanish).
  49. ^ "About Us".
  50. ^ "TGI Fridays Restaurant Locations". locations.tgifridays.com.
  51. ^ Tan, Chloe (September 27, 2022). "TGI Fridays plans to expand across SEA". Marketing Interactive.
  52. ^ "Find us" (in English and Japanese).
  53. ^ "TGI Fridays Malaysia | Kuala Lumpur". Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  54. ^ "TGIF PH Branches". TGIF.
  55. ^ "Рестораны Фрайдейс в Екатеринбурге" (in Russian).
  56. ^ "餐廳店址" (in Chinese).
  57. ^ "Locations".
  58. ^ "Locations Listing". fridays.com.cy.
  59. ^ "Επιλεξτε εστιατοριο" (in Greek).
  60. ^ "Choose restaurant".
  61. ^ "Amerikai étterem és bár Budapesten" (in Hungarian).
  62. ^ "American Restaurant and Bar in Budapest". fridays.hu.
  63. ^ "Locations – Fridays". Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  64. ^ "Locaties" (in Dutch).
  65. ^ "Рестораны Фрайдейс в Москве" (in Russian).
  66. ^ "Localizador" (in Spanish).
  67. ^ "Fridays Sverige". www.fridays.se.
  68. ^ "TGI Fridays i konkurs – hyrestvisten i Kungsträdgården sänkte kedjan". SVT Nyheter. March 12, 2024. Archived from the original on March 30, 2024. Retrieved March 30, 2024.
  69. ^ "Visit Your Nearest Fridays Here | Fridays UK Locations". www.tgifridays.co.uk.
  70. ^ "American Restaurants Near You | TGI Fridays Local Restaurant Finder". TGI Fridays.
  71. ^ "HOME". TGIFridaysGuam.
  72. ^ Shaw, Aimee (October 26, 2022). "TGI Fridays among fast food franchises with NZ plans". Stuff.co.nz.
  73. ^ Wan Chern, Kang (September 16, 2022). "TGI Fridays to open four new outlets, create at least 150 jobs in Singapore". The Straits Time.
  74. ^ "TGI FRIDAYS MENU PRICES | TGIF Menu". Retrieved July 26, 2016.

External links[edit]