TGI Fridays plans to make millions by serving sushi

The bar chain has added food from Krispy Rice at 140 locations in a bid to appeal to younger consumers.
TGI Fridays
Fridays expects Krispy Rice to add $68.5 million in incremental revenue per year. | Photo: Shutterstock

TGI Fridays, known as a destination for bar food and happy hour, is betting on a surprising new menu category to help lift sales: sushi.

The 700-unit chain has expanded a partnership with sushi concept Krispy Rice to put its items on the menu at more than 140 TGI Fridays locations. The company expects the addition to generate $68.5 million in incremental revenue annually—or nearly 8% of its total 2022 sales.

Krispy Rice, from the creators of the upscale Katsuya sushi concept, offers raw fish atop crispy grilled sushi rice as well as traditional rolls and sides. It joins TGI Fridays' existing menu of wings, burgers, sandwiches and ribs.

TGI Fridays is betting that Krispy Rice and other new products, such as Happy Dad Hard Seltzer and banana-flavored whiskey from Howler Head, will attract younger consumers to the 58-year-old brand, which, like many casual-dining chains, has struggled with traffic recently. 

"These exciting collaborations introduce the TGI Fridays brand to entirely new audiences and give new reasons for visitation," said CEO Brandon Coleman in a statement. "This is an incredibly exciting time for TGI Fridays and these collabs are just the beginning of an innovative approach to building our brand."

Krispy Rice is part of C3, the digital restaurant group owned by hospitality mogul Sam Nazarian. Fridays owner TriArtisan Capital Advisors invested $10 million in C3 in 2021 with plans to bring its brands to more restaurants. 

Soon after, TGI Fridays began testing Krispy Rice as a takeout-only option in a few locations and predicted it could add $1 million to AUVs. It has now elevated the brand to the regular menu and plans to expand it to over 300 restaurants. It is targeting a $163 million annual run rate for Krispy Rice, or about $540,000 per store.

It’s one of Fridays’ first big initiatives under Coleman, who was promoted to CEO in August after serving for less than a year as the chain’s CMO and U.S. president. He said at the time that his goals are food and beverage innovation and returning Fridays to its roots as a place for young people to eat, drink and socialize.

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