Marketing

There's enough color in TGI Fridays' past for a month of Sundays

Restaurant Rewind: With the casual-dining greybeard set to begin a new chapter as a British-owned concept, it’s a good time to remember the brand’s decidedly American past.

Even the name suggests a climb out of a rut: TGI Friday’s, as in it’s time to cut loose and have some wicked fun. The casual-dining trailblazer didn’t disappoint, aiming from Day One to offer a different sort of experience to children of the conformity-conscious '50s.

They would know it as a singles bar, though they wouldn’t tag it as such until years later. They just knew it was unlike the genteel places where their parents might drag the whole family for a birthday or graduation.

It was the beginning of a serial transformation that would smash one restaurant convention after another, redefining the full-service sector as it went. The firsts would include an intense focus on what we now call mixology, and what anyone in today’s sit-down sector would instantly know as a bar menu.

With Friday’s about to begin a new chapter through its acquisition by a British franchisee, Restaurant Rewind looks back at that colorful past and the stamp the chain has already left on the business. So pull up a cocktail, hit “Play” and join us for a recollection of the times we were all a little less gray.

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