Case study: TGI Friday’s

  • Why your customer is king: customer experience should be at the top of your priority list. Click here to read the cover feature
  • Case Study: Hilton Worldwide. Click here to read how the hotel brand successfully relaunched its HHonors loyalty programme.
  • Call centre experiences can have a big impact on customer experience, click here to see how brands compare
  • RSA Group (owner of More Than) chief marketing officer, Pete Markey, talks about how marketers should be central in the customer experience
/g/t/e/tgifriday250.jpg

When US restaurant chain TGI Friday’s came to the UK in 1986, it was famous for its distinctively American atmosphere. But by the mid-2000s, the brand had lost its way and when Whitbread sold the operating rights in 2007 to a consortium, including the brand’s US owner Carlson and investment bank ABN Amro, a reassessment of the entire restaurant experience followed.

Commercial director Darrell Wade, who started as marketing director when the brand transferred ownership, says: “The brand was tired, it was a bit old, people did not have pride in what they were trying to do.”

TGI Friday’s responded by pouring time, effort and investment into the development of its staff. Its strategy was to rejuvenate the dining experience and “to go back to what made us famous originally”, Wade says. The brand worked with consultancy SMG to look at four measures on top of general satisfaction – the most important being ’overall fun experience’.

The restaurant also started a training programme called Earn Your Stripes, ensuring all staff reach a minimum standard. It added a scheme called Plus 1, which encourages a more outlandish approach to service, such as specialist cocktail making, servers carrying multiple dishes or doing magic tricks. Wade says the brand looks for personality rather than skills when hiring new staff.

TGI Friday’s saw satisfaction rise from 35% to 58% between 2006 and 2010 and the number of guests citing an overall fun atmosphere increased from 36% to 52%. Wade claims that sales growth for the business is tracking at 7.5% above the market, following similar results a year ago. In the coming year, the restaurant is adapting its customer research model in response to demand, with ’pace of experience’ becoming the lead measure.

Wade also points out that the menu has been refreshed. “It is our 25th year, so we have taken what we are famous for – burgers, ribs, steaks and pizzas – and made them better,” he says.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here