Heading to your local TGI Fridays and grabbing five-dollar happy hour drinks may be a thing of the past for many people. According to International Business Times, the casual dining chain is looking to close 386 locations worldwide, 76 of which are in the United States. The closures come after the business adapted to restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, forcing restaurants to either close or only offer take-out and delivery services. According to the company's CEO Ray Blanchette, the restaurant chain is keeping a keen eye on 20% of TGI Friday's locations and will decide if it is financially responsible to keep those locations open or close them for good. As the company shifted during Covid-19, the casual restaurant chain lost about 50% of sales making it a hard decision on reopening certain U.S. locations or closing the dining rooms for good
What is TGI Fridays?
Owned by TriArtisan Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, the chain was first opened in 1965 by Alan Stillman who hoped opening a bar would help him meet women. With ten thousand dollars (five thousand which were borrowed from his mother), Alan purchased a bar he frequented and named it TGI Fridays after the expression, "Thank God it's Friday". With American cuisine, typical bar food, and drinks, TGI Fridays featured young employees and created an environment that quickly became one of the first singles bars in the city.
Hoping to meet women, Alan implemented "Ladie's Nights" that offered free or reduced-price drinks to women. And it worked. According to Alan, 480 stewardesses lived in the apartment building next door and they frequented the bar.
Today there are over 869 locations worldwide and 360 in the United States. Bloomberg spoke with Ray Blanchette and she stated, "We'll run it for a month and we'll see how it goes, and if we can do that profitably we'll do it," he said. "We have become very entrepreneurial. No one's got a playbook here."