Q BUSINESS – In a transaction whose amount was not disclosed, Costa Rica Grupo Inmobiliaria Genesis sold its international franchise for the restaurant chain TGI Friday’s.
The company that owns the franchise now is La 305 S.A., which has already started a process of remodeling the only restaurant in the country at the moment, located in Escazú.
Behind La 305 is Roberto Rojas and Juan Carlos Rojas (current president of Deportivo Saprissa), who saw an opportunity in the TGIF brand.
The management of the TGIF franchise by La 305 will be only at the national level because there are other franchisees in the region. However, the new owners already see a potential for growth. And, despite the fact that dates have not been formalized for expansions, the markets being explored are the east side of San Jose, Alajuela, and Heredia, among others.
Roberto Rojas, president of La 305, said the negotiation with the former owners was done to concretize the local transaction, and in the process, there was significant feedback from TGI Friday’s International as part of the changeover.
“When it comes to an international franchise as a chain owner, there has to be constant communication and feedback with local and international owners over various aspects of general brand standards and operating structure,” Rojas said.
As a pioneer restaurant in the “casual dining” concept, TGI Friday’s opened in New York in 1965, where it quickly became the meeting place for adults, generating US$1 million in sales in just the first year.
In 1980, the chain expanded for the first time internationally with England as a destination, later in Asia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Panama, Switzerland and many others.
Also, in the 90’s, TGI Friday’s became the first chain of American restaurants under the concept of “casual dining” to open in Russia. The 300th restaurant was inaugurated in Korea.
T.G.I. Fridays currently has over 900 restaurants in around 60 countries (excluding the United States).
The name is asserted to stand for “Thank God It’s Friday”, although as of 2010 some television commercials for the chain have also made use of the alternative phrase, “Thank Goodness It’s Friday.”
The TGI Friday’s is not to be confused with “Restaurant Fridays Costa Rica”, located in San Pedro.