In a fairly risky offering, TGI Friday’s will allow customers to order one of its many appetizer offerings like boneless buffalo wings, loaded potato skins, or mozzarella sticks among others and receive unlimited supplies of that starter. While that may sound fantastic, customers are limited to their original selection and not allowed to change it up after ordering.
TGI Friday’s: Waiters aren’t cops
Now, that doesn’t mean your friends couldn’t order a different appetizer and share. While not what TGI Friday’s is hoping for, the company has made it clear that they won’t be policing customers hence the word risky.
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“At the end of the day, our servers aren’t policemen,” says Brian Gies, chief marketing officer at Fridays of the promo, which runs through Aug. 24. “We’re not going to slap someone’s hand if they reach over and share someone else’s mozzarella sticks.”
Chili’s and Applebee’s have started something of a price war in recent months as they lose business to Chipotle, Panera and other fast-casual dining options.
Friday’s began around 40 years ago as a “singles bar with burgers” and the 900-unit global chain was recently sold to the private investment firms Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners for a reported $800 million despite declining popularity and sales.
Doubts over TGI Friday’s promotion
Some aren’t sold on the promotion. “Never ever discount a signature branded item,” says Chris Muller, hospitality professor at Boston University. He believes that it won’t drum up business but rather just give a discount to existing customers that would have been happy to pay full-price.
“The risk comes when a crowd of six, or more, decides to get together and pool their resources, all ordering one item and sharing,” he says. “Then it is easy to predict that everyone will order at least six refills each, with plates being passed around.”
Despite that suggestion, Gies points out that it didn’t happen frequently in Cincinnati when it was tested earlier this year but the restaurants involved but traffic and food and drink sales at the restaurant jumped nearly double-digits during the promotion.