Legacy brands are struggling in today’s restaurant landscape as regional and contemporary chains are taking their place in consumers’ hearts, said Patrick Noone, VP of Technomic, at April’s Restaurant Leadership Conference. So a new TGI Fridays in Corpus Christi, Texas, is ditching the dark wood, red stripes and kitsch—as well as the TGI—to capture a different crowd and daypart.
Though the 50-year-old chain always has branded itself as a social hub, the new design has shifted to embrace current consumer—especially millennial—desires and behaviors, a Fridays spokesperson told RB. The bar still is “the soul” of the brand that built its business around happy hour, but an expanded program adds more nonalcoholic options, such as fresh juices and coffee, as well as a light-snacks menu, to appeal to an earlier daypart.
Beyond the bar, there’s a new grab-and-go case up front with bento boxes, sandwiches and fruit cups for the convenience-driven lunch crowd. For dine-in, Fridays has what it calls “fluid social zones,” or a mix of seating styles aimed to appeal to more occasions. “We wanted to provide our guests with the ability to socialize on their terms, whether that’s to check emails during lunch or post a picture on Instagram,” Fridays commented. In other words, it’s casting a wider net, hoping to draw in business meetings and people working remotely, as well as guests looking to socialize.
The goal is a lighter, brighter Fridays that can pivot from day to night with events such as trivia and karaoke. Although Fridays still is testing the prototype, a unit in New York City’s Forest Hills is slated to adopt the design this summer.
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Footprint: 10,000 square feet
Seating: 280, including patio
Key features: Covered patio, Wi-Fi, Apple Pay, expanded hours, new Hangover Brunch menu, grab-and-go case