To say there have been a lot of changes at TGI Fridays of late would be a massive understatement. Just last week, the casual dining chain named Weldon Spangler as its CEO, replacing Brandon Coleman III, who stepped down for personal reasons after just three months in the role.
Coleman replaced former CEO Ray Blanchette, who left the company in May amid a brand shakeup. That transition launched what Fridays called a “transformative new phase” perhaps driven by the company’s sales and unit count decline throughout the past decade. According to Technomic Ignite data, TGI Fridays’ domestic unit count has declined by over 46% in the past 10 years, from 543 in 2012 to 292 in 2022. Sales have declined by over 49% in that timeframe.
In the past month, we’ve started to see more clearly what that “transformative new phase” means on the menu side, including a new appetizer menu with 18 offerings. One of those offerings is sushi, facilitated through an extended partnership with C3’s Krispy Rice.
This week, the company also announced a revamped beverage program, which is kicking off with a new holiday cocktail menu called Claus for Celebration. TGI Fridays said the revamped program is a nod to its bar roots. Indeed, the company got its start in 1965 in New York City as a singles bar.
Claus for Celebration includes 14 cocktails and mocktails, with juices and syrups made in house and visual elements, like torched cocktail toppers. Examples of the holiday menu include the Henny Sweater Weather, a chilled house-mulled cider made with Hennessy V.S Cognac, and the Flying Reindeer, with Bacardi rum, Midori, agave, citrus and Red Bull Red Watermelon.
The brand's holiday cocktail menu is part of Fridays' larger bar revamp, which leveraged consumer insights, trending flavors, and strategic partnerships ahead of its launch. The company said the menu features on-trend offerings, from sweet and fruity to spicy and earthy, and from spirits to seltzer and non-alcoholic offerings. It also features new brands such as Uncle Nearest, Spiritless, Howler Head, WESAKE, and Happy Dad.
"At Fridays, we're all about creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our fun-loving guests, and whether bar hopping or stopping in for dinner and drinks, we want to ensure there are unique and appealing offerings that can be enjoyed by our wide variety of guests," Tiffany Wilburn, SVP, Marketing, said in a statement. "The Claus for Celebration menu and our full bar revamp will do just that.”
To celebrate the launch of the Claus for Celebration, TGI Fridays is offering three holiday combos:
- New Spiked Orange Glaze made with Hennessy Combo: New York Strip and crispy shrimp with spiked orange glaze made with Hennessy V.S Cognac, orange, and garlic.
- New Korean Red Chile Combo: Served with chicken and crispy shrimp and covered with Korean Red Chile sauce, this garlic and citrus-forward sauce is garnished with sesame seeds, crushed chili flakes, and parsley.
- Crispy Whiskey Combo: A half-rack double-basted pork big ribs and crispy fried shrimp served with the sweet and savory whiskey-glaze sauce.
In addition to the Henny Sweater Weather and the Flying Reindeer, TGI Fridays’ Claus for Celebration beverage menu includes:
- Spruced Up Spritz: A green sip mixing Hendrick's, Midori, La Marca Prosecco, and seltzer.
- Chilled Cocoa: A spin on hot cocoa, this non-alcoholic sip features chilled Ghirardelli cocoa, torched whipped vanilla foam, and graham cracker.
- Spiced & Spiked Cider: Mt. Gay Eclipse Rum is mixed with house-mulled cider, a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, and clove.
- Skrewed Up S'mores: Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, DeKuyper Crème de Cocoa, and chilled Ghirardelli cocoa are mixed and topped with torched whipped vanilla foam and a graham cracker.
- Peppermint Christmas in Jalisco: Patron Silver, chilled Ghirardelli cocoa, whipped vanilla foam, and peppermint.
- Triple Berry Sleigh Ride Shooter: Smirnoff Vodka, blackberry, cranberry, lemon, and strawberry sugar.
- Star Anise Old Fashioned: Bulleit Bourbon and house-made star anise simple syrup old fashioned.
- Uncle Nearest's Winter Sour: Notes of blood orange, herbs, and rosemary provide a spin on a whiskey sour.
- Blackberry Long Island Iced Tea: A combination of Skyy Vodka, Cruzan Aged Light Rum, New Amsterdam Gin, Christian Brother's Brandy, fresh blackberries, agave, and citrus.
- Pumpkin Spiced Espresso-tini: Absolut Vodka, Frangelico, pumpkin, and Owen's Nitro Espresso.
- Naughty Blood Orange Margarita: A citrusy take on the classic margarita.
- Nice Blood Orange Margarita: This non-alcoholic beverage features Spiritless Jalisco 55.
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]