TGI Fridays promotes Brandon Coleman to CEO

The recently hired president and CMO will lead a new chapter at the chain after Ray Blanchette stepped down in May.
TGI Fridays has suffered from sales and unit count declines. | Photo: Shutterstock

TGI Fridays has promoted Brandon Coleman to CEO less than a year after he joined the casual-dining chain as global chief marketing officer. 

Coleman replaces Ray Blanchette, who stepped down in May after five years in the role. 

Fridays hired Coleman last October as global CMO and added president, U.S., to his title in March. He was formerly CMO of Dave & Buster’s and president of Del Frisco’s Grille, and has also held marketing leadership roles at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Restaurants Unlimited, Johnny Carino’s and Snapfinger, a mobile ordering startup. 

Now, the 40-year-old is tasked with turning around the struggling TGI Fridays, which saw its total global sales fall 24% from 2017 to 2022. 

As U.S. president, Coleman has already led the 650-unit brand through its biggest menu update in decades with the June launch of Grilled & Sauced, which allows customers to pair a protein with one of Fridays’ sauces, plus a side. His plans include more food and beverage innovation, particularly new cocktails and other alcohol offerings, according to a press release. 

Coleman will also look to position Fridays once again as a destination for celebrations and parties, tapping into its heritage as a place for younger people to eat, drink and socialize. 

And he will look to open new restaurants in the U.S. and abroad after years of unit count declines. At the end of last year, the Dallas-based chain had more stores overseas—381—than it did in the U.S.—292—and had shrunk by nearly 18% since 2017. Last September, it announced plans to open 75 restaurants in South and Southeast Asia over the next 10 years.

“Brandon has proven time and time again that innovation layered on top of rich brand history is the key to sustained and impactful growth,” said Rohit Manocha, co-founder of TGI Fridays owner TriArtisan Capital Advisors, in a statement. He added that since joining the company, Coleman has improved Fridays’ relevance and connection with consumers.

“TGI Fridays is entering a new era of growth and prominence that will build on our beloved tradition and the emotional connection of great food and drinks along with the fun and entertainment that only TGI Fridays can do,” Coleman said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with our franchisees and our company-owned restaurants to lead TGI Fridays into a new chapter.”

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