TGI Fridays plans major expansion in Asia

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TGI Fridays has 385 international locations. / Photo courtesy of TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays is making a big franchising push in Asia, with plans to open 75 restaurants in South and Southeast Asia over the next 10 years.

The deal with master franchisor Universal Success Enterprises is TGI Fridays’ biggest development deal to date, the channel said. It is expected to generate $500 million in revenue over the next decade.

It will add to the Dallas-based chain’s large overseas footprint. Fridays has more international locations – 385 – than domestic stores (about 315) and opened 22 international restaurants in 2022 alone.

Fridays’ international presence makes it quite unique among large casual dining chains. Among the top 10 in the United States, it has the most international locations, followed by Chili’s with 365 and Outback Steakhouse with 287, according to data from Technomic Ignite.

But it has been declining both domestically and internationally for years. Its overseas network peaked at 448 international locations in 2017. The deal with Universal Success marks a return to growth outside the United States.

“We are excited to bring the TGI Fridays brand and experience to new markets and consumers in Asia through our expanded partnership with Universal Success Enterprises,” said Ray Blanchette, CEO of TGI Fridays, in a statement.

Singapore-based Universal Success has experience bringing American brands to the region. It currently operates three TGI Fridays in India and has introduced Outback Steakhouse in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Chairman Prasoon Mukherjee said in a statement that he started his restaurant career 30 years ago as a kitchen manager at TGI Fridays. “[I’m] excited to share the brand experience with consumers across the region,” he said.

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