Cheers June 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 19 of 43 20 • June 2016 | | | | | | PROFILE | | | | | | these head-turning items frequently turn up online is a bonus in the social focus of Fridays. "We want our food to be highly visual and share-worthy with friends and on social platforms, as part of the overall experience," Durbin says. Other Hangover Brunch cocktail include The Maxmosa, with LaMarca prosecco, freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice and vanilla in a smoothie. The brown-spirits boom is refl ected in the Honey Bourbon Flip: Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, organic agave, egg and ground nutmeg. The decadent brunch cocktails notwithstanding, Fridays is also emphasizing healthier drinks. "Consumers today, Millennials especially, are looking for healthier options," Durbin says. "This was a natural opportunity to extend our presence and credibility into freshly squeezed juices." The brunch menu focuses on these juices and smoothies, which sell for $4. The Paradise Punch is a puree of orange juice, pineapple juice and guava, while the Sex on the Peach smoothie includes carrot juice, peach purée, organic agave, lime juice, lemon juice and fresh basil. "Fridays always goes back to being a great bar, so it is important for us to provide great-tasting drinks that leverage fresh ingredients," Durbin says. ALL ABOUT THAT BAR Indeed, the bar has always been important to the brand, ever since Alan Stillman opened the fi rst TGI Fridays on New York's Upper East Side in 1965. Stillman wanted to create a place specifi cally for socializing with the stewardess and models who lived in the neighborhood. Fridays, which is jointly owned by private equity fi rms Sentinel Capital Partners and Tri-Artisan Capital Partners, today operates more than 900 restaurants in nearly 60 countries. Durbin points out that Fridays is the only national brand of its size that hosts an annual global bartender competition, now 25 years running. He would know: Durbin was the 1994 Fridays World Bartender Championship winner. He transitioned into management and is now responsible for all concept and menu innovation at Fridays. Durbin has also held marketing leadership roles with E&J Gallo and Fox and Hound Restaurant Group. "We've always believed that the bar is the center of the restaurant," he says, "both physically and in terms of providing the energy, atmosphere and profi tability." The chain makes fresh in-house cocktail mixers every day, Durbin notes. For example, the BFM (Best Fridays Margarita) is made with Patron Silver tequila, Grand Marnier, and proprietary house-made fresh agave sour mix. The Ultimate Casamigos Strawberry 'Rita, is made with Casamigos blanco tequila, Cointreau, fresh strawberries, and Fridays' blend of organic agave with fresh lemon and lime juice. "The premiumization trend has been among the most pervasive changes in cocktails in the past 15 to 20 years," Durbin says. "We are continuing to provide access to premium ingredients" in the beverage program. To meet the needs of modern guests, TGI Fridays is embracing consumers' digital connections and offering stronger Wi-Fi. Revamped locations will also offer comfortable places for guests to sit and work or socialize. The coffee-shop-like common areas at the recently redone Fridays locations sell prepackaged sandwiches, salads, parfaits, cookies, brownies, fresh juices and soft drinks, plus an expand- ed coffee menu.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cheers - Cheers June 2016