TGI Fridays wants to become a hang out spot for millennials.
The casual-dining chain has re-opened a location in Corpus Christi, Texas as a trendy restaurant aimed at customers who love Starbucks and hungover brunches, reports Nation’s Restaurant News.
“I like to say it’s a re-invention and, to a certain degree, a repositioning,” TGI Fridays president and CEO Robert Palleschi told Nation’s Restaurant News in an interview about the revamped location.
Much of the innovation is intended to attract customers outside of lunch and dinner hours, drawing from millennials who typically visit a coffee shop to work or study.
The company seems to be taking cues from Starbucks in creating “areas for mid-afternoon gatherings,” with amplified bar space, WiFi, and a new full coffee menu. The restaurant has been redesigned with “hang-out spaces” on both sides of the restaurant. With these innovations, the restaurant hopes to attract customers who want to work, have meetings, or “just hang out if they want to,” in the word of TGI Fridays USA president Ricky Richardson.
The location also added late-night drinks with a new juice platform, as well as nighttime events including live music and trivia. The restaurant will close later and open early, with extended hours of 7 am to 2 am.
A final millennial-friendly innovation: Hangover brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. To celebrate the new brunch program, the restaurant is rolling out menu items including fresh juices, chicken and waffles, and bourbon steak and eggs.
Richardson told Nation’s Restaurant News that about 45% of TGI Fridays customers are millennials, a figure that has grown in the last year and a half. At the Corpus Christi, Texas location, that percentage is even higher, at slightly more than half.
Fridays was originally conceived as a singles bar, more than 50 years ago. However, the chain evolved into a family-focused, casual-dining restaurant — a segment that has suffered with the recent rise of fast casuals.
While TGI Fridays has not indicated that Corpus Christi’s millennial, hang out-centric model will become the new norm for the chain, the restaurant’s rehaul signifies Fridays may be ready to enter a new era of business.
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