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TGI Fridays is overhauling its entire menu as the chain tries to claw its way out of a restaurant industry death trap

Tech Insider logo Tech Insider 2/9/2018 Kate Taylor

a plate of food on a table: TGI Fridays © Provided by Business Insider Inc TGI Fridays

  • TGI Fridays is halfway through its plan to overhaul its entire menu by the end of the year. 
  • The most recent update was revamping meat options, with new sirloin, ribs, salmon, and grilled shrimp menu items. 
  • Fridays is trying to distance itself from the struggling casual-dining industry and returning to its "singles' bar" roots. 

TGI Fridays is overhauling its menu as the chain looks for a way to escape the slumping sales plaguing the casual-dining industry. 

On Wednesday, TGI Fridays announced it had reached the halfway mark in its efforts to overhaul its entire menu by the end of 2018. So far, the chain has revamped 50% of its menu, with 30% new menu items and 20% improved options. 

"We're on a mission to create a better experience for the customer," CMO Stephanie Perdue told Business Insider. 

The latest revamped item is its fire-grilled meats, with new sirloin, ribs, salmon, and grilled shrimp options. Over the last year, the chain has also made changes such as increasing the size of its ribs by 30% and adding the vegetarian Beyond Meat Burger to its Burger Bar. 

a cup of coffee on a table: TGI Fridays © Provided by Business Insider Inc TGI Fridays

The menu overhaul is intended to help Fridays distance itself from the casual-dining sector. Many sit-down casual-dining chains have been hit hard in recent years, as millennials have gravitated away from chains like TGI Fridays, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Applebee's in favor of quicker and less expensive options. 

According to Perdue, Fridays is "stepping away from casual dining." 

"I think it's all about returning to the roots of Fridays," she said. "We started as the original singles' bar in New York City."

Fridays is trying to play up its bar-centric roots by doubling down on appetizers and testing booze delivery. 

"The bar is a huge part of our brand, and will be moving forward," Perdue said. 

TGI Fridays isn't the only chain trying to escape the casual-dining industry's struggles. Applebee's is trying to play up its history as a bar, rolling out various $1 drink deals in recent months. With an acquisition by Arby's parent company, Buffalo Wild Wings' new leadership is trying to ditch the category completely.

"When it was growing gangbusters, it didn't position itself against its traditional cast of casual dining players," Paul Brown, the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings' new parent company Inspire Brands, told Business Insider. 

"I don't care what casual dining is," he continued, "because what we do should be a complete break from it." 

Related gallery: A Mediterranean fast-casual chain that people are obsessed with is planning to take over America — here's what it's like

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