TGI Fridays Layoffs: Restaurant Closings in California, Casual Dining Industry Struggling

TGI Fridays Layoffs
iStock.com/BreatheFitness

TGI Fridays has announced that it will lay off 98 employees in California due to the permanent closures of two of its restaurants.

TGI Fridays’ Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices filed in California say that the restaurant chain will lay off 41 and 57 employees in Oxnard, Ventura County and Brea, Orange County, respectively. These TGI Fridays layoffs will be effective March 25 and April 22, respectively.

Besides the two TGI Fridays closings in California, two locations in Kentucky have recently closed. The restaurant in Paducah shuttered on January 29 and the restaurant in Fayette Plaza in Lexington closed in mid-February.

TGI Fridays Sales Decline

Like other traditional casual restaurants, TGI Fridays has been struggling to maintain its sales during a decline in the casual dining industry.

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TGI Fridays sales declined by 5.1% in 2017. In response, the company has started making changes to its menu as it tries to distance itself from the rest of the casual dining industry. The chain has revised 50% of its menu, with plans to change even more. The company has added 30% new menu items and 20% improved options.

Casual Dining Industry Trends

The casual dining industry has dominated in the U.S. for years because of the variety of its menus but, recently, that has changed. In 2017, chain restaurant sales growth slowed for the second consecutive year.

Casual dining sales among the top 500 restaurant chains in the U.S. increased by just 0.1%, while the unit count fell 1.4%.

Overall sales among the top 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains increased 3.2% in 2017, which is a drop from the previous year’s growth of 3.8%. Overall unit count growth was 1.1%, compared to 1.8% in 2016.

Many casual dining chains, like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee’s International, Inc., have been struggling. This is because millennials have been moving away from these types of chains in favor of quicker and less expensive options.

In response, Applebee’s has recently introduced various $1.00 drink deals as a way to emphasize its history as a bar. Buffalo Wild Wings, after being acquired by Inspire Brands, Inc., has been trying to leave the casual dining category entirely.

Americans have many food options to choose from now. For example, grocery stores have been competing with restaurants by using advances in technology, lower prices, and features like wine bars, to-go meals, and faster pick-up and delivery services. Moreover, meal delivery kit companies like Blue Apron Holdings Inc (NYSE:APRN) have been trying their best to get millennials to sign up for subscription plans.

All of these factors have been contributing to a decline in sales growth at casual chain restaurants, which has resulted in closures and job cuts, such as the recent TGI Fridays layoffs.

Sources

WARN Report,” State of California Employment Development Department, last accessed March 1, 2018.

TGI Fridays in Paducah closes,” WPSD Local 6, January 29, 2018

Another Fayette Mall staple is gone; fifth restaurant to close in a year,” Lexington Herald-Leader, February 21, 2018

TGI Fridays is overhauling its entire menu as the chain tries to claw its way out of a restaurant industry death trap,” Business Insider, February 10, 2018

FALTERING CASUAL DINING SLOWED RESTAURANT SALES IN 2017,” Restaurant Business, February 15, 2018

Millennials are killing chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee’s,” Business Insider, June 3, 2017.

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