Carlson Companies is reported to be placing TGI Fridays restaurant chain up for sale. TGI Fridays is valued at about $1 billion by industry analysts.
Carlson Companies, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, purchased TGI Fridays global restaurant chain in 1975. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is the parent of Radisson, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza and Hotel Missoni brands.
TGI Fridays corporate HQ is based in Carrollton, Texas. Since opening the initial 1965 popular bar and restaurant in New York (no longer exists), the TGIF restaurant chain has grown to 934 locations in more than 60 countries.
Of more interest to me about the TGI Fridays news story hitting the press are the statements in the New York Times and FOX Business News articles:
The restaurant chain claims credit for creating the drink known as the Long Island Iced Tea.
New York Times – Nov 22, 2013
Several news articles about TGI Fridays include the claim the Long Island Ice Tea drink was invented at TGI Fridays.
Not according to this PBS video on You Tube with Robert Butts, the man who claims to have concocted the drink at a mixology contest at the Oak Beach Inn Long Island in 1972.
He has a website too, called what? LongIslandIced-Tea.com.
Started in 1965 in New York City, today Fridays has more than 900 locations in more than 60 countries and is considered a leader in the American casual bar and grill dining category. Carlson noted a number of “iconic firsts” for TGI Fridays, including the original Happy Hour and creation of Long Island Iced Tea.
Fox Business News Nov 25, 2013
I did a little bit of internet research into the Happy Hour phrase. Numerous articles attribute the origin of Happy Hour to the U.S. Navy in the 1920s. In 1959 ‘Happy Hour’ was used in a Saturday Evening Post article.
The True Meaning of Happy Hour – SeattleMag.com April 2012.
I did not find any reference to the origin of either ‘Long Island Iced Tea’ or ‘Happy Hour’ with a connection to TGI Fridays. Seems like a billion dollar business claiming to have invented the Long Island Iced Tea and the original Happy Hour would have something on their website supporting those claims. These events do not appear on the TGI Fridays History webpage.
TGI Friday’s in Oslo, Norway with $15 beer (March 2013) kept me outside.