TGI Fridays is taking a significant business risk this summer through an attempt to make more money on the restaurant’s most famous aspect: appetizers.
TGI Fridays announced on Monday that it would offer “Endless Appetizers” to customers. Guests will be able to order any appetizer, including loaded potato skins, pan-seared pot stickers and boneless buffalo wings, for only $10. Then, customers get their chosen appetizer refilled for free for as long as they desire, according to USA Today.
The promotion is slated to last until August 24, but with the enormous holes that can be found in TGI Fridays’ business plan, the summer deal may not continue for long.
Although “Endless Appetizers” sound like a great deal for extremely hungry customers or overweight guests, one of the many problems will be “when a crowd of six, or more, decides to get together and pool their resources, all ordering one item and then sharing,” says Chris Muller, a professor of hospitality at Boston University. “Then it is easy to predict that everyone will order at least six refills each, with plates being passed around.”
In order to protect against losing a large amount of money, TGI Fridays initiated a rule that customers can only order “Endless Appetizers” of one, single appetizer. However, the chief marketing officer at TGI Fridays, Brian Griese, says that “at the end of the day, our servers aren’t policemen. We’re not going to slap someone’s hand if they reach over and share someone’s mozzarella stick.” Making it highly likely that most guests will break the rule.
At some level, one could argue that the restaurant’s lackadaisical enforcement of the one appetizer rule is a result of TGI Fridays respecting the age-old adage that “the customer is always right.” The respectfulness of this philosophy comes at a price, as TGI Fridays risks losing money throughout the summer with this new promotion.
USA Today reports that this summer deal is a result of the restaurant making an attempt to catch up to the faster growing, “more budget conscious fast-casual chains,” like Chipotle and Panera.