TGI Fridays Is Busier as Customers Receive $600 Stimulus Checks

TGI Fridays has seen a recent sales jump as millions of U.S. consumers receive government aid checks.

The restaurant chain’s daily sales are up roughly 20% from the levels in the weeks prior to the stimulus payments, Chief Executive Officer Ray Blanchette said in an interview, Chief Executive Officer Ray Blanchette said in an interview. Performance has been held down in recent months by an increase in Covid-19 cases.

“We’re actually doing much, much better for the last couple of days,” Blanchette said in an interview. He said the company noticed the increase “as soon as those stimulus checks hit -- talk about pent-up demand.”

The sit-down chain, which has recently advertised family-sized buckets of chicken, is still planning to close some of its locations permanently due to the pandemic that’s hurt sales across the industry, especially for dine-in.

This early indicator of the stimulus’s impact may be a positive sign for other restaurant operators, especially now that prospects have improved for a new round of payments following this week’s Democratic victories in the U.S. Senate. While Americans have already received payments of $600, President-Elect Joe Biden has pledged higher payments.

Sit-down restaurants have been bludgeoned by the pandemic as consumers stay home. The industry has lobbied hard for a new round of targeted support.

TGI Fridays is owned by TriArtisan Capital, which also operates P.F. Chang’s.

Blanchette said the stimulus appears to be helping lower-income brackets.

“Folks that are the most vulnerable in our society -- this gives them a little bit of relief,” he said. “They sort of want to get out and treat themselves.”

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