New York CNN —
Some fans of TGI Fridays were likely surprised this week when they found their local restaurant permanently closed because the chain abruptly shut down dozens of locations around the US.
The chain said in a release that it closed 36 “underperforming” restaurants as part of its “ongoing growth strategy,” which also includes also a shakeup of its executive ranks and selling some restaurants back to its former CEO.
TGI Fridays released a list of closed restaurants to CNN, which encompasses 12 states. New Jersey has the most locations closed with seven, followed by six in Massachusetts and five in New York. (See the list below).
Prior to the closures, TGI Fridays had about 270 US locations — a footprint that has dwindled in recent years. About 80% of “total impacted employees” were offered transfer opportunities, the company said.
“Our top priority has always been delivering a superior experience for each and every TGI Fridays guest, and we’ve identified opportunities to optimize and streamline our operations to ensure we are best positioned to meet – and exceed – on that brand promise,” said Ray Risley, US president and chief operating officer, in the release.
Other changes implemented at the nearly 60-year-old chain include selling eight previously corporate-owned locations, all in the Northeast US, to its former CEO Ray Blanchette. He had been TGI Fridays’ chief executive for five years until May 2023.
Blanchette has an “unmatched understanding of the TGI Fridays business and the restaurant’s commitment to delivering excellence for guests,” the chain said about the sale, adding that he will “lead the locations into a new phase of revitalization.”
TGI Fridays is privately owned by TriArtisan Capital Advisors, a private equity firm, so financial results aren’t released. However, the company said last year that total sales were projected to reach $1.6 billion in 2022 with same-store US sales growing at 8% compared to 2019.
It also changed up its menu in recent months to keep up with its rivals, notably Applebee’s and Chili’s, by adding sushi, refreshing its cocktail menu and giving its appetizer selection a makeover.
Here’s the full list: