The chief executive of TGI Fridays has departed the company.
The restaurant chain said that Ray Blanchette has stepped down as CEO. Rohit Manocha, chairman of the board and co-founder of TriArtisan Capital Advisors, will assume Blanchette's responsibilities in the interim. (TriArtisan is the lead investor in Friday’s.) A global executive search firm has been retained to search for a new CEO.
Blanchette joined TGI Fridays as CEO in October 2018, managing the company through a successful turnaround that included both national and global growth as well as through the turbulent impacts around the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said.
Previously, he served as CEO of Ruby Tuesday. Blanchette also served as chief executive of Au Bon Pain and Ignite Restaurant Group.
"We are deeply grateful for Mr. Blanchette's contributions over the last several years,” said Manocha. “TGI Fridays is beginning a new phase of revitalization, innovation, and value creation. We are turning our focus towards growth and creating relevance with today's consumers because we believe there is significant upside potential. Under Ray's leadership, the brand's performance has improved, and he built a strong operating culture that will carry us forward as we pursue new territories. “
The company noted that it announced the most significant deal in its history in September 2022, including the opening of 75 new restaurants throughout South and Southeast Asia during the next 10 years.
In a recent move, TGI Fridays said it is expanding the benefits of its Friday Rewards offering while also making it more accessible across channels. The chain is deploying the Oracle CrowdTwist loyalty and engagement solution to support a relaunch of the the customer loyalty program
TGI Fridays operates 700 restaurants in 52 countries. The company saw total sales projected at $1.6 billion in 2022 , with same U.S. sales growing 8% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic).
TriArtisan is the lead investor in TGI Fridays with extensive holdings in the restaurant and hospitality industry, including P.F. Chang's, Hooters, and Creating Culinary Communities (C3).