SUBSCRIBE

News > Business

Read more breaking news

 

 

T.G.I. Friday's set to open 20 new restaurants in three years

By Peter Ruddick , 06-Jul-2012
Last updated on 06-Jul-2012 at 19:12 GMT2012-07-06T19:12:18Z

In an exclusive video interview, Karen Forrester, UK managing director of T.G.I. Friday's, has revealed how she turned the business around and what the future plans for the brand are

In an exclusive video interview, Karen Forrester, UK managing director of T.G.I. Friday's, has revealed how she turned the business around and what the future plans for the brand are

Karen Forrester, the UK managing director of American restaurant chain T.G.I. Friday's, has revealed the business has plans to open at least 20 new venues in the next three years as the brand reinvigoration continues.

In an exclusive video interview for BigHospitality, Forrester explained since she had taken over in 2007 her aim had been to develop the people within the business and make them the focus of success. 

As part of expansion plans which will see the brand open new restaurants in Manchester, Wembley, Brighton, Glasgow, Halifax and Blackpool in the next twelve months, 2,000 jobs will be created.

Neglected

Forrester has been credited with reinvigorating the brand in the UK leading it to 14 successive quarters of growth. 

"What the people and the business definitely needed was to feel loved again," she said. "If I am due any credit it may well be that I just brought the love back and gave them a reason to feel proud again."

In March the Scotland-born managing director was named best individual retailer at the Retailer's Retailer of the Year Awards  organised by BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Report.

Spectacular

Turning to specifics, Forrester said she had rejected moves to discount - something she said had been a wise move.

"The people had lost their way and felt quite unloved and neglected for some time. That then reflected on the brand and the perception of the brand."

"Why did people come to Friday's in their hordes 20-25 years ago in the UK? Once you work that out it is not that difficult to realise that is the solution to the problem."

"There were all these temptations, as with everyone, to discount or promote or think it is around the design or the product."

"The one thing was around the people. If I could fix that - make sure we had the right people, give them the great training again to bring back the awesome menu and drinks knowledge that Friday's was famous for - and then differentiate ourselves through the experience then I felt we had a better chance of survival than some of our competitors who chose to discount during the downturn." 

"Even I had no idea how true that was because the turnaround was quite spectacular," she said.

Functional brands

Forrester also revealed she felt there were other high street brands that were in a similar situation to where T.G.I Friday's had been and had become too functional.

She also explained why she welcomed the competition from food-led pubs, why she was looking at the street food development to push the business forward and which other US brands she thought might hit the UK soon.

Galvin pub Spitalfields first look

First Look: Galvin HOP

BigHospitality takes an exclusive First Look at Galvin HOP, the brand new pub concept...

First Look: Inamo Covent Garden

First Look: Inamo Covent Garden

Tech-driven restaurant Inamo re-located its St James's site to Covent Garden last week and...

Spotlight on Service

Service hiccups: Gold Service Scholarship finalists 2015

Everyone can have a bad day every now and then, as the Gold Service...

Raymond Blanc: Service is no longer about servitude

Raymond Blanc: Service is no longer about servitude

As part of our Spotlight on Service series we speak to chef Raymond Blanc...

German Gymnasium: Behind the scenes at D&D London’s latest restaurant

German Gymnasium: Behind the scenes at D&D London’s latest restaurant

With the opening of the vast German Gymnasium in King’s Cross as well as...

Service Tips Spotlight on Service

Service Tips: Gold Service Scholarship finalists on how to give great service

With our spotlight firmly on service and front of house we asked the finalists...

The Clove Club: How service makes the Michelin-starred restaurant tick

The Clove Club: How service makes the Michelin-starred restaurant tick

As BigHospitality’s Spotlight on Service campaign gets underway, we chat to the Clove Club’s...

How to balance hospitality and technology

How to balance hospitality and technology

Adrian Valeriano, vice president UK of OpenTable tells us how you can get the...

Behind the scenes at Foxlow

In Operation with...Foxlow

Hawksmoor co-founder Will Beckett talks to BigHospitality about the company's recently launched neighbourhood restaurant...

No show, no refund: The Clove Club on going ticketed

No show, no refund: The Clove Club on going ticketed

The Clove Club has been running a ticketed system since April in an attempt...

Back in business: Hospitality property market outlook

Back in business: Hospitality property market outlook

As the new year gets rolling, now is the perfect time for hotels, restaurants...

Digital restaurant: How to extend your reach with online innovations

Digital restaurant: How to extend your reach with online innovations

The likes of social media, online advertising and mobile loyalty apps allow businesses large...

How to use Twitter for restaurants

#SocialRestaurant: How to use Twitter effectively

They’re all on it. Big national chains, high-profile chefs and small emerging brands across...

Dietary requirements: Terre à Terre’s top tips

Dietary requirements: Terre à Terre’s top tips

In the third part of our Dietary Requirements special feature, BigHospitality takes a trip...

How to become a hotel manager: Masterclass with Glion

How to become a hotel manager: Masterclass with Glion

What skills do you need to be a hotel manager? Following a special media...

Budget 2013: What it really means for your hospitality business

Budget 2013: What it really means for your hospitality business

Now the dust has settled on George Osborne's fourth Budget speech, the race is...

UK pub industry pledges more than 400 work placements in just one week

UK pub industry pledges more than 400 work placements in just one week

Long hours, unskilled work and few career development opportunities: the hospitality industry, and pubs...

UK team 'disappointed' by ninth place at the World Pastry Cup

UK team 'disappointed' by ninth place at the World Pastry Cup

Martin Chiffers, president of the UK's Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie club, has described...

Every hospitality business must make job creation pledge, says Ufi Ibrahim

Every hospitality business must make job creation pledge, says Ufi Ibrahim

Ufi Ibrahim has told hospitality businesses across the UK that they must ‘walk the...

How to market your hospitality business better using photo and video

How to market your hospitality business better using photo and video

A picture might tell a thousand words but getting the right photo and video...