£70m to be invested in TGI Friday’s and All Saints agree deal

May 4, 2011

The big story this week is £70m investment planned for food and drinks chain TGI Friday’s.

Carlson, the leisure and travel conglomerate who own the American-themed restaurant group, are set to invest big money in an attempt to expand the number of sites and revitalise the brand on British shores.

TGI Friday’s are celebrating their 25th birthday in the UK just one year after the Carlson group took full control of the UK franchise.

Karen Forrester, UK managing director, spoke of the retailers encouraging plans for growth:

“We are pumping £70m into the brand over the next four years,” She continued to add that the majority of the investment will go on finding and opening new sites.

They are looking to open up 21 new restaurants in the UK in what Ms Forrester describes as “triple-A shopping and leisure locations”, taking the total number of sites up to 70 – but she admitted there is scope for as many as 100 restaurants across the UK.

As well as promising that Friday feeling 7 days a week, TGI’s will also offer up to 5,000 new jobs in coming years to accommodate the additional sites.

There is a danger of TGI’s becoming less of an occasion, and more of a common diner with the addition of so many more restaurants. However, Ms Forrester was quick to dismiss such a possibility of defusing the brands spark, she stated: “We would never want there to be a TGI Friday’s on ever corner. It is all about the experience.”

TGI Friday’s 49th British site was opened over the Easter weekend in Aberdeen, and will look to open its 50th this year – with sites being planned for Stratford, east London, the new Olympic retail park and in Manchester city centre.

Besides opening new sites, the chain will spend some of the £70m investment on giving some of their existing restaurants a facelift, and staff training.

All in all this is good positive news, it shows big companies are willing to invest in the UK retail sector, which in turn will encourage others to follow suit.

In other news…

I reported last week on the impending demise of fashion retailer AllSaints, but it seems finally that the ongoing talks with buyers are coming to a positive conclusion.

Lloyds gave AllSaints one last chance to find a buyer, and it’s believed that Lion Capital, the private equity group who own Weetabix, Americal Apparel and La Senza have answered their rescue deal.

Once the deal is completed, Lion will own around 75pc of AllSaints, while Goode Partners will own 15pc and the chain’s chairman, Kevin Stanford, will hold a 10pc stake in the retailer.

The deal is believed to value AllSaints at £105m.