Another restaurant chain is focusing on the off-premise revenue stream.
TGI Fridays is launching Fridays on the Fly, a small-format restaurant concept that is designed to meet rising consumer demand for delivery and takeout. At approximately 2,500-sq. ft., the new format will be focused on filling delivery and takeout orders. It will also offer in-door dining, but with a smaller dining space than a traditional TGI Fridays.
The first Fridays on the Fly is under construction. The company did not reveal the location.
“Now that we've sustained strong off-premise growth, we can continue our efforts evolving the Fridays experience to meet customer trends, both in-restaurant and off-site," stated Ray Blanchette, CEO of TGI Fridays, which has more than 700 restaurants worldwide.
Other casual-dining companies and quick-serve chains have launched smaller formats, take-out only concepts and/or ghost kitchens to handle the growth of take-out. PF Chang’s, for example, debuted P.F. Chang’s To Go in 2020 and plans to open more than 10 new locations this year. The Wendy’s Company is going full speed ahead with ghost — or delivery-only — kitchens, partnering with Reef — the largest operator of delivery kitchens in North America — to open and operate 700 delivery kitchens during the next five years across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Fridays has already moved on other fronts to capitalize on off-premise demand, In October, the company signed a deal with Reef to open as many as 300 delivery restaurants in the United States and globally during the next five years. It has also explored new streams by creating and launching several virtual restaurants, most recently partnering with C3 (Creating Culinary Communities), a fast-growing food-tech platform with a portfolio of more than 40 culinary brands.
"For the past six months, we recorded sales volumes on a same-store basis that have exceeded pre-pandemic levels and have consistently beat the casual dining industry average," said Blanchette. "We're essentially stronger now than before the pandemic and our strong sales and traffic have reaffirmed the power of the TGI Fridays brand. Not only are we seeing existing guests visit more frequently and lapsed guests return, but an entirely new group of guests are joining the Fridays fan base."