The concept was created by Alan Stillman in New York when he wanted to open a bar that was a good place to meet women. He lived in a neighborhood full of young single people with no safe place for young people to meet.
He put up $5,000 of his own money and borrowed $5,000 from his mother to buy a neighborhood bar. He named it T.G.I. Friday’s after the expression Thank God! It’s Friday, a phrase popular from his years at Bucknell University.
The trademarks of T.G.I. Friday’s began in this bar, including the red and white striped awnings, funky decorations, and the employee uniforms of red and white striped soccer shirts.
Franchising of T.G.I. Friday’s began in 1971.
The same year, Dan Scoggin bought the rights to 8 major cities in the Midwest. His franchised restaurants were high-performing and Scoggin and merged, forming T.G.I. Friday’s, Inc.
The company was acquired by Carlson Companies in 1975 and continues to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company.
Today T.G.I. Friday’s currently operates over 900 restaurants in 62 countries.