TGI Friday’s

Aug 5, 2019 | Report Announcements

TGI Friday’s long-established brand equity as the original bar & grill national chain works well with Millennials (40% to 45% of guests) who maybe more likely to visit a bar than a sit-down restaurant. As Friday’s bar scene cannot be replicated at home, it is more immune from to-go and delivery cannibalization and its large mix for alcohol sales helps to drive check & margin. The brand seeks to differentiate around tech & digital which also works well for Millennials and its app functionality includes: booking & check-in; pre-ordering; mobile payment with Venmo split check capability; loyalty; and social media sharing capabilities. We like the possibility of a test in Dallas which allows guests to place orders while seated in-store at the table. AI customer interfaces on app & social media (well suited for a social brand) is intended to offer customization & cost effective marketing and an emphasis on growing its loyalty program (to drive frequency) fits-in with its efforts to develop an AI driven 1-to-1 marketing platform. An expanded digital reach further drives growth of high ticket off-premise sales generated by new, younger customers and new occasions with existing patrons when a meal at home is preferred to a social night out. However, the chain’s relatively small scale and decreasing share translates into a smaller share of voice and mostly negative comps since 2008 Great Recession reflects the system’s fundamental challenges, particularly as it relates to value in our opinion. Comp performance over the last couple of years has been especially challenging, translating into a system low AUV and EBITDAR margin (impeding CAPEX investments that maybe necessary to fuel a rebound) and net closures over the last 10 years. In conclusion, while Friday’s does well to differentiate around its original bar & grill brand equity layered with efforts to lead the casual space in Millennial friendly tech innovations, there is still more work to do around value such that Friday’s can join in the progress that its competitors have made in better meeting today’s consumers where their wallets are at.

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