Like Ruby Tuesday, Friday’s looks to seafood
Casual-dining heavyweight T.G.I. Friday’s is testing more seafood on its Denver-area menu, in what is likely a move to prevent competitor Ruby Tuesday from snaring some of its customers.
The Carrollton, Texas-based chain of more than 1,000 restaurants in 61 countries has added seafood items to its menu over the past year, including in its “lighter” options and its Caribbean-inspired summer menu. For example, T.G.I. Friday’s summer menu featured Caribbean Salmon and Jerked Jumbo Shrimp Combo.
Ruby Tuesday, which operates about 900 restaurants, has added a lot seafood appetizers and entrées to its menu over the past year. Ruby Tuesday CEO Sandy Beall said recently that the company now sells more seafood than burgers. In addition, the Marysville, Tenn.-based chain recently announced it will launch a casual seafood concept in 2011.
At T.G.I. Friday’s six Denver-area locations, the revamped menu includes the addition of Ahi Tuna with Avocado Crisps, Diamond Grilled Norwegian Salmon and Broiled Tilapia with Tomato Cucumber Vinaigrette. The new menu, which comprises 20 new entrées and drinks, is designed to represent Friday’s “innovative and energetic” vibe, according to a company statement.
“We’ve added even more freshly prepared, made-to-order dishes — the kind of food on which Friday’s was built,” said Ricky Richardson, Friday’s chief concept officer.
Friday’s Denver menu additions represent more modern and upscale versions of popular American fish entrées such as salmon and tuna, said Aaron Jourden, associate editor at Chicago-based foodservice consulting firm Technomic.
“Broiled tilapia, for example, is a familiar seafood experience, but Friday’s has given it a twist with a tomato cucumber vinaigrette, which makes the fish preparation more upscale and modern. The same goes for the ahi tuna appetizer,” said Jourden.
Friday’s seafood additions are also designed to boost the chain’s image of healthy choices and variety on its menu, according to Jourden.
In addition to the Denver seafood additions, Friday’s last week said it’s adding select items to its fall menu that were popular during the summer, including Captain Morgan® Original Spiced Rum Sauce on steaks and seafood.All Foodservice & Retail stories >