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T.G.I. Friday's, A Huge Conglomerate-Owned Chain in Sixty Countries


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Out of town for the other hobby this weekend and without MrP, I met up with two buddies whose dietary limitations, combined with the range of available restaurants in that little podunk town, meant a visit to Outback. And still, the petit filet is not bad. But we were at a booth (the place was almost empty at 7:30 on a Thursday night!), and the waiter comes up and first thing he says (after some greeting or another), is "mind if I sit next to you?" And he was serious. And I was so taken aback that my mouth engaged before my brain did, and I replied "are you serious?" And then he was taken aback and practically mumbled "okay, then, I'll just kneel", which is exactly what he did. And then I felt sorry for him and bad about myself, because he was probably only folllowing orders. But I noticed that he wasn't wearing any flair.


The sitting at your table schtick is part of Outback's deal. The jokey buttons, flair and weird hat thing is TGIFriday.
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The sitting at your table schtick is part of Outback's deal. The jokey buttons, flair and weird hat thing is TGIFriday.
I think TGIFriday's got rid of the flair thing in the last few years. I think they were sick of the jokes. There was some weird stuff when I went to the one at GW about a year ago. The waitress gave change from a wad of cash that she had for anyone who paid cash. Note that was gave change and not made change. Then it all went back into her server's apron.
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I think TGIFriday's got rid of the flair thing in the last few years. I think they were sick of the jokes. There was some weird stuff when I went to the one at GW about a year ago. The waitress gave change from a wad of cash that she had for anyone who paid cash. Note that was gave change and not made change. Then it all went back into her server's apron.
Not too weird. When I was a waiter in the 19XXs at various neighborhood spots, we were always responsible for keeping our own banks. I'm sure that's still the case at that level of restaurant. That way no one can make the excuse that someone else must have shorted the till. If the waiter messes up then it's their problem not the owner's.
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I think TGIFriday's got rid of the flair thing in the last few years. I think they were sick of the jokes. There was some weird stuff when I went to the one at GW about a year ago. The waitress gave change from a wad of cash that she had for anyone who paid cash. Note that was gave change and not made change. Then it all went back into her server's apron.

It actually sounds very European, not something I'd usually associate with Friday's. wink.gif When I was in Budapest and Vienna last month, almost all of the wait staff had their own small wallet with cash in it. Actually made things a lot faster.

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Briad Restaurant Group, LLC upholds T.G.I. Friday’s® strong track record in industry leadership, innovation and standards of excellence, striving to treat every customer as an honored guest.

Is that Horny 'Rita that you ordered at happy hour made with Hornitos Reposado Tequila or Pepe Lopez? Apparently the Briad Restaurant Group believes that you will not know the difference.

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I completely agree.

As for Rose's Luxury and other places that have taken to the policy of 'No Reservations', well, they are a business and that is their choice. While the food is almost without a doubt better than Olive Garden or Fridays, standing in line makes me feel like I am at one of those places.

Please tell me that people don't stand in line to get into Fridays. Please. I'm begging you.

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Please tell me that people don't stand in line to get into Fridays. Please. I'm begging you.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! It is true.

Funny story. I grew up in Suburbania (re: Columbia, MD). My wife and I lived there as well, for about 10 years, too (why I have no idea). It was a Sunday night around 8:30 and we had a long day and forgot about dinner until we both looked at each other and we said 'Damn, I'm hungry!' so close to each other we said jinx! Anyway, the closest restaurant to us, outside of fast food, was a Macaroni Grill. It'd been there for about a year. We figured it was probably over its newness, so we walked in and asked for a two top. The host looked at us and said it would be 60 minutes. We looked at each other and laughed as we turned around and walked right out. We drove about 5-6 minutes from there to Piccolo's. They had immediate availability (but were close to full) and we had a fantastic 150 minute multi course meal. It was so great.. I think after Piccolo's closed, the same family opened up Aida nearby.

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It's really true that people wait in line to get into Fridays? Why, oh Lord, why? I mean, Lauriol Plaza is puzzling, but Fridays? Does it involve cheap pickups, or is it the sophisticated food and gracious service?

Oddly enough, I've actually eaten at the Macaroni Grill in Columbia MD. Wasn't my idea. I was up there for work with a couple of colleagues, to do a disaster-recovery test. We had to start the test at some unholy hour, on a Friday, like 5 pm, and so we went for an extremely early dinner at Macaroni Grill, which was one of the choices of nearby chain restaurants, which is all there was (this would have been in 1999, I think). Obviously there would have been no line at that hour, although as I recall the restaurant was kind of busy. I don't remember what I had, but remember being surprised that it was not awful. Not awful is a pretty low bar, but one never cleared by Fridays.

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It's really true that people wait in line to get into Fridays? Why, oh Lord, why? I mean, Lauriol Plaza is puzzling, but Fridays? Does it involve cheap pickups, or is it the sophisticated food and gracious service?

You really didn't realize this? At prime time in most suburban Cheesecake Factory locations, waits exceed 2 hours.

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You really didn't realize this? At prime time in most suburban Cheesecake Factory locations, waits exceed 2 hours.

But Fridays isn't Cheesecake Factory. I was aware that people waited to get into CF (puzzled by it, but aware), but TGIF inhabits a plane of dreariness unlike practically any other of these chain places, going beyond even (shudder) Ruby Tuesday or Chili's. Do people wait to get into those places too? I know they wait in some godawful hellholes to get into Cracker Barrel, but also Applebee's? One has to wonder if euthanasia isn't called for in some of these cases, and if that's elitist and French, then let me be damned for it.

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But Fridays isn't Cheesecake Factory. I was aware that people waited to get into CF (puzzled by it, but aware), but TGIF inhabits a plane of dreariness unlike practically any other of these chain places, going beyond even (shudder) Ruby Tuesday or Chili's. Do people wait to get into those places too? I know they wait in some godawful hellholes to get into Cracker Barrel, but also Applebee's? One has to wonder if euthanasia isn't called for in some of these cases, and if that's elitist and French, then let me be damned for it.

Take a slow drive down Rockville Pike on a Friday night. Lines out the door.

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Take a slow drive down Rockville Pike on a Friday night. Lines out the door. 

Mark, I'm sure your intentions are noble, but thanks, I'll pass.

Come on, Mark, when's the last time you've taken a drive down Rockville Pike on Friday night? I'm calling bullshit! :P I'm not saying you're *wrong* - in fact, you're probably right; just that I can't picture you doing this.

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Come on, Mark, when's the last time you've taken a drive down Rockville Pike on Friday night? I'm calling bullshit! :P I'm not saying you're *wrong* - in fact, you're probably right; just that I can't picture you doing this.

Don, It was a few years ago, but I distinctly remember all the chain restaurants with long lines out the door.

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But Fridays isn't Cheesecake Factory. I was aware that people waited to get into CF (puzzled by it, but aware), but TGIF inhabits a plane of dreariness unlike practically any other of these chain places, going beyond even (shudder) Ruby Tuesday or Chili's. Do people wait to get into those places too? I know they wait in some godawful hellholes to get into Cracker Barrel, but also Applebee's? One has to wonder if euthanasia isn't called for in some of these cases, and if that's elitist and French, then let me be damned for it.

For as many people in their 20's and 30's who are foodies and visit restaurants referenced in this forum there are many multitudes more who "dine out" or go out on Friday and Saturday nights at completely different type places.  The difference in volume between "foodies" and non "foodies" is enormous.  Friday's and places like it, or bars and clubs are jammed pack.  They have enormous draw power.  Its not just the Friday's of the world.  In this region the Sweetwater Tavern in Merrifield is regularly busy.  It must be one of the most consistent high volume restaurants in this region and annually placed in various lists of top 100 independent restaurants for sales volume.  Sweetwater gets mentioned here, but some like it and some pan it.  Clearly over decades (not years) it has successfully met "the market" (whatever that is).  Eating out is a very diverse exercise.

There are a lot more restaurants out there than are mentioned in this forum.  Some are insanely popular and some are, I suspect, restaurants, bars, or clubs that were visited by members of this forum when they were younger.     Yes some of these places are referenced here, but not with the seriousness or reverence that restaurants with great chefs receive.  (Of course these middling restaurants don't merit that type of commentary--but they do their job).

Parenthetically for some reason a year or so ago I looked at the total volume of grads of the bar school who had been hired at regional Fridays.  First, there are a lot more Friday's in the region than I realized, as they stretch from Frederick County in the North or West, to Southern Maryland to significantly down the 95 corridor in Va and frankly all over.  In total and over a decade those many Friday's hired a very considerable volume of bartenders, surprisingly high.  I know that some of those Friday bartenders made very good money, which meant high volumes and a lot of tips.   I'm aware of Friday's bartenders who made strong earnings in very different locations.

Someone and many people must be visiting those restaurants.  It may not be you or I...but a lot of people are going.

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For as many people in their 20's and 30's who are foodies and visit restaurants referenced in this forum there are many multitudes more who "dine out" or go out on Friday and Saturday nights at completely different type places.  

In graduate school, Fridays was one of the places we would hit on Fridays for dinner after happy hour.  We waited in line back then in the 80s. I don't doubt that there are lines today.

There weren't a whole lot of places to go for a sit-down meal then.  Sometimes we'd change it up and a go to an Indian restaurant on University Blvd. or to 3 Brothers or something*, but for a sit-down meal with table service and food for a variety of people without large sums of disposable income, Friday's was a decent fit.**  The one we went to was also fairly centrally located for where people in the group lived.

*Jasper's! El Torito! Kangaroo Katie's!  Remember Kangaroo Katie's in Greenbelt?

**And better than Bennigan's!

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