Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional details from TGI Fridays.
- TGI Fridays added an events service in which guests can book dine-in business events, school functions, birthday parties and anniversaries, the company announced Thursday.
- The company expects to drive $5 million in Q4 incremental revenue from this channel, which could amount to 10% of its business over time.
- The chain said it was part of a strategic turn “focused on evolving TGI Fridays into an experiential hospitality and entertainment destination.”
TGI Fridays said it was the first major casual dining chain to offer an in-restaurant party service, calling parties a “gap” in the market. The brand is dedicating significant labor resources to the service.
“TGI Fridays has trained a newly established white glove service team that is dedicated to delivering elevated service to its Guests,” Fridays said in the press release. A number of existing staff have been trained to handle the events service, and during events these workers will attend to the parties, while the remaining staff will continue to handle standard restaurant operations, TGI Fridays said in an email to Restaurant Dive.
According to the press release, the brand has turned towards experiential dining under CEO Brandon Coleman III, who has led the chain since late August. The party service is currently available at about 90% of the chain’s units, Fridays said, including both franchised and corporate restaurants. The company is working to expand the service to its other locations.
The events service offers three packages — an appetizer-only version, a two-course and a three-course option. These packages come with non-alcoholic beverages, though bar drink add-ons are available for an additional charge. Fridays offers the packages to groups of 10 or more, with prices ranging from $14.99 per person for the appetizer package to $24.99 for the two-course and $29.99 for the three-course deal.
The new service comes just days after the company announced it was offering Krispy Rice, a virtual brand developed by C3, across 140 of its stores, a move it said would generate significant incremental revenue. TGI Fridays has spent the year modernizing its menu to highlight bolder flavors and let its meat products stand out. In late April or early May, Fridays also raised the number of rewards points needed to redeem for most of its menu categories in a major change to its loyalty program.
While many chains offer catering services for events and interest in events catering seems to be growing, Fridays’ strategy takes that trend on-premise, in a move that aligns with industry interest in experiential concepts.
Over the last year and a half, a number of concepts that look to facilitate social gatherings, or draw larger parties, have attracted significant investment. Puttshack raised $150 million in late 2022 to support the growth of its mini-golf themed restaurants, Pinstripes plans to public through SPAC deal, and the founder of Punch Bowl Social is developing a pickleball chain. Fridays experiential offerings aren’t focus on games, however. The brand positioned its new party packages as in keeping with its history as a place for people to gather.