TGI Friday's eyes smaller format restaurants and transport hub expansion

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sister publication m&c, Train station

Karen Forrester, managing director of TGI Friday's in the UK, has told M&C Report she is considering smaller format restaurants and transport hub sites as part of the expansion plans for the business
Karen Forrester, managing director of TGI Friday's in the UK, has told M&C Report she is considering smaller format restaurants and transport hub sites as part of the expansion plans for the business
TGI Friday’s is to develop a 'next generation' version of the brand, which is smaller in size and aimed at different markets, and it also plans to open in transport hubs, UK managing director Karen Forrester told BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Report.

The 56-strong business opened its latest site in Leeds earlier this year, with another five planned for 2013 and eight for 2014.

Asked how the concept could evolve, Forrester told M&C Report: “We’re looking at maybe a smaller-box Friday’s that we can take into smaller markets with relatively smaller populations, but a bit more affluent. So we would look at something of a next generation Friday’s to do that with.

“I’ve always believed that the core Friday’s can get to 80 (sites), maybe a little more.

"There are smaller towns that I think would welcome it, but it’s almost impossible to get 7,000/8,000/9,000sq.ft (premises). So we’d want to make sure that if we went into a smaller footprint, a smaller box, we can deliver the Friday’s experience. We’re working on that."

Transport hub

Forrester said she’d hope to open its first site at a transport hub within the next 18 months. “I think once we get one I’m sure that will open up the doors to the others.”

She said TGI Friday’s would 'work wonderfully' at train stations or airports, saying that its rivals in these locations tend to be 'functional'.

“What we can do, at train stations or airports, is really break up the day and cheer you up before you travel on."

Forrester added: “The design is the easy bit. What we want to ensure is that we can really deliver a great Friday’s emotional connection. I think that would really make a difference to people traveling.”

The company’s next openings this year are set to be in Bristol, Glasgow, Braintree in Essex and Brighton.

In a video interview with BigHospitality last year,​ Forrester said she had managed to revive the TGI Friday's brand since joining the company in 2007 by focusing on the diner experience and staff training and by resisting the urge to discount.

This story was first published by BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Report. To subscribe to M&C Report​ contact Emily Croft on 01293 846578 or email rzvyl.pebsg@jeoz.pbz​.

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