Today, TGI Friday’s is more or less just another chain bar and grill on the same wavelength as competitors like Applebee’s and Chili’s. But without Friday’s, the chain restaurant scene in America would be very different; the company blazed a trail and made history in the process.
ALAN STILLMAN OPENED THE FIRST LOCATION AS A WAY TO MEET WOMEN
The Upper East Side of New York City in 1965 was a hotbed of “stewardesses,” secretaries, fashion models, and other young singles. Stillman has made it well known that his primary motivation for opening the original bar (pictured) was to meet some of them.
THE FIRST FRIDAY’S CONCEPT STARTED OFF AS A ‘SINGLES’ BAR
Before Friday’s, there really was nowhere for a groups of single young professionals to go in Manhattan’s Upper East Side for a night of casual dinner and drinks. The fact that there was now a relaxed place where groups of young women and men could gather and mingle together on a Friday night wasn’t just new — it was revolutionary. The first location was so popular that it brought in $1 million in revenue in its first year — the equivalent of about $7.5 million today.
THEY WERE THE FIRST TO SING A BIRTHDAY SONG TO GUESTS
If you told your server that there was a birthday at your table, come dessert time, the entire crew would come to your table with a piece of cake and sing to you. It’s a chain restaurant tradition by this point, but nobody was doing it before Friday’s.
Source: The Daily Meal | Dan Myers