TGI Friday’s, where it’s always Friday!

How to meet women…just buy a singles bar!
Back in 1965, on the East Side of Manhattan, there was a neighbourhood that was populated by airline stewardesses, fashion models, secretaries and other young, single people. Alan Stillman, a healthy young male, wanted to meet women, so with $5,000 in his pocket and another $5,000 he borrowed from his mother, he bought one of his favourite bars, The Good Tavern, at the corner of 63rd Street and First Avenue in New York City. He renamed it T.G.I. Fridays.

T.G.I. Fridays 436 U.S. Restaurant Locations

TGI Fridays Store Map

TGI Fridays Store Map

His bar was different, it wasn’t a “guys’ drinking hangout.” It was a place for the twenty- and thirty-somethings–male and female–to meet. T.G.I. Fridays served good old American cuisine, along with typical bar  food and, of course, alcoholic drinks.

Despite the fact that T.G.I. Fridays was designed as a meeting place for the hip, young crowd, Alan decorated his bar in the style of the Gay Nineties. The interior featured fake Tiffany lamps, Bentwood chairs and old wood floors. The bar was a thing of beauty, with brass rails and stained glass. The staff, all young people, wore red-and-white striped soccer shirts. Allan had unintentionally created one of the first singles bars! Finally, young women had a place they could go in the evening to have a good time.

So, did Alan Stillman meet women?
You bet he did! T.G. I. Fridays was located next door to an apartment building that was home to 480 stewardesses. The bar became so famous that customers waited in line to gain entry! Two years after the Manhattan location opened, franchising began with a new location opening in Memphis Tennessee, although this locations has since closed.

 In 1972, having acquired the rights to eight major midwest cities, Daniel R. Scoggin opened in Dallas, Texas, with the first of a new prototype.  A raised square bar and multilevel dining became the new company standard and the Dallas location doubled the sales and tripled profits of T.G.I. Fridays previous best.  T.G.I. Fridays was evolving; it was becoming a suburban family restaurant. With a 200-seat capacity and new and exciting offerings, such as a large “from scratch” menu, frozen drinks and bartender Olympics, the restaurant flourished.

The company was sold to Carlson Companies in 1975. In 1989, the company once again became privately held and switched from a singles bar to a family focused restaurant.

The Haymarket branch, which opened in 1992 in Leicester Square in Central London, is regarded as both the most popular branch and most profitable T.G.I. Fridays. 

On May 20, 2014, T.G.I. Fridays was resold to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. And, the legend goes on!

Gloria Sauvé
Communications and Marketing

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