T.G.I. Friday's (often shortened to "Friday's") is an American restaurant chain focusing on casual dining, with over 800 restaurants in over 50 countries. The company is a unit of the Carlson Companies. Its name is taken from the expression "TGIF" (short for "Thank God It's Friday" or "Thank Goodness It's Friday", though the restaurant asserts that it stands for the latter). The chain is known for its appearance, with red-striped canopies, brass railings, Tiffany lamps, and frequent use of antiques as decor.
The Friday's restaurant chain was founded in 1965 in New York City
, featuring standard American cuisine
, bar food
, and alcoholic beverages. The restaurant was located at the corner of 63rd Street and First Avenue
. The exterior featured a red-and-white striped awning, and blue paint, and the interior included wooden floors, Bentwood
chairs, and striped tablecloth. The bar area added brass rails, and stained glass. The employees were young and wore wacky uniforms, and every time someone had a birthday, the entire restaurant crew came around with a cake and sang Friday's traditional birthday song. The location is now a British
pub called "Baker Street"; the brass rails are still there.
The restaurant's second location was established in 1970 in Memphis, Tennessee's Overton Square district. That location has since closed.
The oldest continually operating Friday's is in Louisville, Kentucky on Linn Station Road. It opened in August 1977 and at the time was the 31st store in operation.
Friday's has also been used as a restaurant for hotels run by Country Inns & Suites by Carlson brand. On January 17, 2007, the owner of TGI Friday's UK, Whitbread PLC, sold their 45 restaurants back to TGI Friday's UK Limited (a consortium consisting of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc. and ABN Amro Capital) thus exiting a partnership formed in 1986.
Historically, the chain's highest grossing location is at Haymarket Leicester Square, which opened in 1992 in Central London.
The newer T.G.I. Friday's 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". Most Friday's have a propeller
and a canoe
on display as part of their antiques.
Food and drink
Friday's has a large menu with an emphasis on alcoholic beverages
. "Ultimates" drinks are served in an 18 oz. glass, and often made with top shelf and darker liquors.
A section of the menu is dedicated to the "Jack Daniel's Grill", a selection of items with a special Jack Daniel's
-branded barbecue sauce
Friday's 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.
T.G.I.Friday's sporadically participates in a promotion known as the "3-Course Menu". With this menu, guests can pay $12.99 ($14.99 or $16.99 for higher priced entrées) and choose an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert from a predetermined list.
The company licenses its name to Heinz for snack items and frozen foods sold in grocery stores.
Friday's has also expanded outside of the US. The chain maintains a presence in the following countries: Argentina
(including Hong Kong
, Costa Rica
, Czech Republic
, Dominican Republic
, El Salvador
, Puerto Rico
, Saudi Arabia
, South Korea
, Trinidad and Tobago
, United Arab Emirates
, United Kingdom