- Ray Blanchette is leaving TGI Fridays after more than four years as CEO, according to a press release issued Thursday.
- Rohit Manocha, chairman of the board and co-founder of TGI Friday’s primary investor TriArtisan Capital Advisors, will take over Blanchette’s role while the company searches for a replacement. The company said it is entering a “a new phase of revitalization,” as Blanchette departs.
- TGI Fridays said it has retained an executive search firm to help fill Blanchette’s post, and that it is considering internal and external candidates. The search coincides with high turnover among restaurant CEOs.
TGI Fridays did not specify how its new phase of revitalization would differ from the period of Blanchette’s leadership, which the company described as, “a successful turnaround that included both national and global growth.”
Manocha said TGI Fridays will prioritize “growth and creating relevance with today's consumers” through innovation and other value creation.
Blanchette led the brand since October 2018, according to his LinkedIn, guiding the company through COVID-19. According to the press release, TGI Fridays’ same-store sales in 2022 grew 8% against 2019. Under Blanchette’s leadership, TGI Fridays pushed into the virtual brand sphere through a partnership with C3. According to the press release, TriArtisan is a major investor in C3, which was founded by Sam Nazarian. Recently, TGI Fridays overhauled its loyalty system, adding daily rewards while cutting the discount rate provided on most categories of menu items.
Numerous restaurant CEOs have left their companies in recent months as the industry faces tightened lending markets and consumer trade down resulting from menu price inflation. Within the last 10 days, BurgerFi CEO Ian Baines said he would retire in June, Jennifer Schuler left Wetzel’s Pretzels to spend more time with her family and Shipley Do-Nuts added Bonchon CEO Flynn Dekker as its chief executive.
Earlier this month, Fat Brands named co-CEOs ahead of Andrew Wiederhorn’s departure. In April, Carrols Restaurant Group hired a board member and former Toys-R-Us executive, and Playa Bowls hired Smoothie King’s chief operating officer to serve as CEO.
In late March, interim Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz left the company almost two weeks early, days ahead of a contentious hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on the brand’s alleged union-busting, passing the reins to Laxman Narisimhan. In Q1 2023, there was more turnover at the CEO post at CKE, Restaurant Brands International, and other companies.