Who Owns TGI Fridays?

Updated: July 14, 2023


TGI Fridays, a popular American restaurant chain known for its casual dining atmosphere and signature dishes, has become a household name around the world. Founded in 1965 by Alan Stillman, TGI Fridays has grown into a global franchise with numerous locations spanning multiple continents. However, tracing the ownership of this iconic restaurant brand requires delving into a series of transitions and acquisitions over the years.

In its early days, TGI Fridays was a privately-owned company under the ownership of its founder, Alan Stillman. Stillman opened the first TGI Fridays restaurant in New York City with the intention of creating a place where young professionals could relax and enjoy good food and drinks. The concept was an instant hit, and the restaurant quickly gained popularity.

As TGI Fridays expanded its footprint and gained recognition as a leading casual dining brand, it caught the attention of several investors and corporations. In 1975, the Carlson Companies, a hospitality and travel company based in Minnesota, acquired TGI Fridays from Alan Stillman. Under the ownership of Carlson, TGI Fridays experienced significant growth, with new locations opening across the United States and internationally.

The ownership of TGI Fridays changed hands once again in 2014 when Carlson sold the restaurant chain to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners, two private equity firms. This transaction marked a new chapter for TGI Fridays as an independent company with a renewed focus on revitalizing the brand and expanding its global presence.

Since then, TGI Fridays has continued to evolve under its new ownership, implementing various strategies to enhance the dining experience, innovate their menu offerings, and cater to changing consumer preferences. The restaurant chain has embraced technology, introduced new marketing initiatives, and expanded its international presence through franchising agreements.

Today, TGI Fridays remains a beloved casual dining destination with its distinctive red and white-striped awnings and mouthwatering menu items. While the specific ownership structure may have shifted over time, the essence of TGI Fridays has persevered, providing patrons with an enjoyable experience filled with good food, friendly service, and a lively atmosphere.

What is TGI Fridays?

TGI Fridays is a well-known American restaurant chain that specializes in casual dining. It is recognized for its vibrant atmosphere, eclectic menu, and signature cocktails. The restaurant offers a diverse range of dishes, including appetizers, burgers, steaks, seafood, salads, and desserts.

TGI Fridays was founded in 1965 by Alan Stillman, who opened the first location in New York City. The concept behind the restaurant was to provide a welcoming space where young professionals could unwind after a long week of work and enjoy quality food and drinks. TGI Fridays quickly gained popularity for its laid-back ambiance, friendly service, and innovative menu items.

One of the distinctive features of TGI Fridays is its focus on creating a lively and energetic environment. The restaurants often have a sports bar vibe, with televisions displaying games and a bustling atmosphere. The walls are adorned with quirky memorabilia and decorations, contributing to the brand’s unique character.

TGI Fridays is renowned for its “Flair Bartending” technique, where bartenders showcase their skills by performing tricks and acrobatics while preparing drinks. This adds an entertaining element to the dining experience and sets TGI Fridays apart from other casual dining establishments.

Over the years, TGI Fridays has expanded its presence globally, with numerous locations in different countries. It has also adapted its menu to accommodate various dietary preferences, offering vegetarian, gluten-free, and healthier options alongside its classic dishes.

TGI Fridays has become a beloved destination for families, friends, and individuals looking for a relaxed and enjoyable dining experience. Whether it’s for a casual meal, drinks with colleagues, or a celebration, TGI Fridays continues to uphold its reputation for providing good food, friendly service, and a lively atmosphere.

History of TGI Fridays

The history of TGI Fridays dates back to 1965 when it was founded by Alan Stillman, a young entrepreneur living in New York City. Stillman opened the first TGI Fridays restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with the intention of creating a place where young, single professionals could gather, socialize, and enjoy quality food and drinks in a casual atmosphere.

The name “TGI Fridays” was inspired by the phrase “Thank God It’s Friday,” reflecting the restaurant’s positioning as a destination to unwind and kick-start the weekend. The concept was an instant hit, resonating with the target demographic and capturing the vibrant spirit of the era.

TGI Fridays gained popularity for its innovative menu, which featured a variety of dishes and beverages. It was one of the first restaurants to introduce the concept of happy hours, offering discounted drinks during specific times to attract customers. The restaurant also embraced the idea of casual dining, with a focus on creating a lively ambiance and incorporating entertainment elements like bartenders performing tricks and acrobatics.

As TGI Fridays became increasingly successful, it expanded beyond its original location. The second restaurant opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971, and the chain grew rapidly throughout the 1970s, establishing its presence across the United States. By the end of the decade, there were more than 100 TGI Fridays locations operating nationwide.

In 1975, TGI Fridays went through a significant ownership change when it was acquired by the Carlson Companies, a hospitality and travel company based in Minnesota. Under Carlson’s ownership, TGI Fridays continued its expansion, both domestically and internationally. The brand’s unique combination of food, fun, and a lively atmosphere resonated with consumers, allowing it to flourish and become a household name.

In 2014, Carlson sold TGI Fridays to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners, two private equity firms. This transaction marked a new phase for the brand as an independent company, focused on revitalizing the dining experience, enhancing its menu offerings, and expanding its global presence through franchising agreements.

Throughout its history, TGI Fridays has consistently evolved and adapted to changing consumer preferences. The brand has introduced new menu items, embraced technology for ordering and loyalty programs, and sought to provide an enjoyable experience for guests. Today, TGI Fridays continues to be a popular casual dining destination, known for its diverse menu, lively atmosphere, and commitment to creating a fun-filled experience for its customers.

Ownership Changes over the Years

TGI Fridays, the popular American restaurant chain, has undergone several ownership changes throughout its history. Here are the significant ownership transitions:

  1. Alan Stillman (1965-1975): TGI Fridays was founded in 1965 by Alan Stillman, who owned and operated the first restaurant in New York City. He established the unique concept of a casual dining establishment with a focus on young professionals and a lively atmosphere.

  2. Carlson Companies (1975-2014): In 1975, TGI Fridays was acquired by the Carlson Companies, a Minnesota-based hospitality and travel company. Under Carlson’s ownership, TGI Fridays experienced substantial growth, expanding its presence across the United States and internationally. The brand’s popularity soared, and it became synonymous with casual dining and a vibrant social scene.

  3. Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners (2014-present): In 2014, the Carlson Companies sold TGI Fridays to two private equity firms, Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. This ownership change marked TGI Fridays’ transition to an independent company. The new owners aimed to revitalize the brand, enhance the dining experience, and further expand its global footprint through strategic initiatives and franchise partnerships.

These ownership changes have played a significant role in shaping TGI Fridays’ evolution and growth. While the brand’s essence and core values have remained intact, each ownership transition has brought fresh perspectives, investment strategies, and operational changes to propel the chain forward.

Throughout these ownership changes, TGI Fridays has maintained its status as a popular casual dining destination, beloved for its diverse menu, lively ambiance, and dedication to providing an enjoyable experience for its customers.

Current Ownership of TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays is privately owned by Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. These two private equity firms acquired TGI Fridays in 2014 from the Carlson Companies. However, please note that ownership structures can change over time, so it is advisable to verify the current ownership status of TGI Fridays through reliable sources as of the present day.

Expansion and Growth Strategies

TGI Fridays has implemented various expansion and growth strategies to strengthen its presence in the market and cater to evolving consumer preferences. Here are some of the key strategies the company has pursued:

  1. International Expansion: TGI Fridays has focused on expanding its global footprint through international franchise partnerships. By partnering with local franchisees, the company has been able to open new restaurants in different countries and regions around the world. This strategy allows TGI Fridays to tap into new markets, adapt to local tastes and preferences, and leverage the expertise of local partners.

  2. Menu Innovation: To stay relevant and cater to changing consumer preferences, TGI Fridays has implemented menu innovation strategies. The company regularly introduces new and limited-time menu offerings, including seasonal items and innovative dishes that reflect current food trends. Menu innovation helps attract new customers, encourage repeat visits, and keep the dining experience fresh and exciting.

  3. Technology Integration: TGI Fridays has embraced technology to enhance the guest experience and streamline operations. The company has implemented online ordering platforms and mobile apps, allowing customers to conveniently place orders for pickup or delivery. Additionally, technology has been utilized to enhance loyalty programs, personalized marketing campaigns, and data analytics to gain insights into customer preferences and behavior.

  4. Restaurant Remodeling and Design: TGI Fridays has invested in remodeling and redesigning its existing restaurants to create a more modern and appealing ambiance. The company has introduced updated decor, seating arrangements, and lighting to create a contemporary and comfortable dining environment. This strategy aims to attract new customers, improve customer satisfaction, and rejuvenate the brand image.

  5. Marketing and Branding Initiatives: TGI Fridays has executed various marketing and branding strategies to maintain its visibility and engage with customers. The company has utilized digital marketing campaigns, social media presence, and partnerships with influencers and celebrities to reach a wider audience. Collaborations with popular culture events and promotions have also been leveraged to create brand buzz and generate excitement.

  6. Franchise Development: TGI Fridays has focused on franchise development as a growth strategy. By partnering with experienced franchisees, the company expands its reach into new markets and benefits from their local market knowledge and operational expertise. Franchise development allows for accelerated growth and greater market penetration.

These expansion and growth strategies have played a significant role in TGI Fridays’ continued success as a prominent casual dining brand. By adapting to consumer preferences, exploring new markets, leveraging technology, and investing in brand rejuvenation, TGI Fridays aims to stay competitive and provide a compelling dining experience for its customers.

The Impact of Ownership Changes on TGI Fridays

Ownership changes can have a significant impact on a company like TGI Fridays. Here are some potential impacts of ownership changes on TGI Fridays:

  1. Strategic Direction: New owners often bring fresh perspectives and strategic visions for the company. They may introduce new goals and objectives, which can influence the direction and focus of TGI Fridays. For example, new owners might prioritize international expansion, menu innovation, or technological advancements as key growth strategies.

  2. Financial Investment: Ownership changes often involve financial investments in the company. New owners may infuse capital into TGI Fridays to support expansion plans, remodel existing restaurants, or invest in marketing and technology upgrades. Increased financial resources can fuel growth, improve operations, and enhance the overall performance of the brand.

  3. Operational Changes: Ownership changes can lead to operational adjustments within TGI Fridays. New owners may implement changes to improve efficiency, streamline processes, and enhance customer experiences. They might introduce new operational protocols, revise supply chain management, or invest in training programs for employees. These operational changes aim to strengthen the brand’s operations and competitiveness.

  4. Brand Refresh: Ownership changes can also result in a brand refresh or repositioning of TGI Fridays. New owners might invest in marketing and branding initiatives to revitalize the brand image, appeal to a broader customer base, or differentiate TGI Fridays from competitors. This could include updating the logo, redesigning the restaurant interiors, or implementing new marketing campaigns to attract and engage customers.

  5. International Expansion: Ownership changes can impact TGI Fridays’ international expansion efforts. New owners may prioritize entering new markets or accelerating growth in existing international markets. They may bring expertise and resources to support the development of international franchise partnerships, which can lead to increased market presence and revenue streams.

  6. Adaptation to Consumer Trends: Ownership changes can prompt TGI Fridays to adapt to evolving consumer trends. New owners may conduct market research and analyze consumer preferences to update the menu, introduce healthier options, or cater to specific dietary requirements. They may also invest in technology upgrades, such as online ordering platforms or mobile apps, to align with changing consumer behaviors and expectations.

While ownership changes can bring positive changes and opportunities for growth, they can also introduce uncertainties and challenges. It is crucial for the new owners to effectively manage the transition, maintain brand loyalty, and ensure a smooth continuity of operations to minimize any potential negative impacts on TGI Fridays.

Frequently Asked Questions

While JAB Holding Company and Mondelez International are the major shareholders of Keurig Dr Pepper, it’s possible that there may be other shareholders with smaller stakes in the company. The specific details of the ownership structure can be obtained from reliable sources or the company’s official disclosures.

Ownership structures can change over time due to various factors such as mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures. For the most up-to-date information on the current ownership of Keurig Dr Pepper, it is advisable to refer to reliable sources or the company’s official announcements.

JAB Holding Company is a privately held investment firm based in Luxembourg. It has significant investments in the consumer goods sector, particularly in the beverage industry.

Mondelez International is a multinational food conglomerate headquartered in the United States. It owns and operates a diverse portfolio of popular food and beverage brands.

Keurig Dr Pepper is jointly owned by JAB Holding Company and Mondelez International.


TGI Fridays is owned by the private equity firms Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. They acquired the restaurant chain from the Carlson Companies in 2014. However, ownership structures can change over time, so it is important to refer to the latest reliable sources for the most up-to-date information on the current ownership of TGI Fridays.



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