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Wed 13th Nov 2013 - TGI Friday’s achieves UK hygiene first; targets 120 sites
TGI Friday’s achieves UK hygiene first; targets 120 sites: TGI Friday’s has become the first UK national restaurant chain to win a five star hygiene rating for its entire 60-strong estate. Operators have repeatedly referred to the growing importance of hygiene ratings this year. JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin described the hygiene rating as a “proxy for standards”. Meanwhile, Mitchells & Butlers chief executive Alistair Darby has argued that consumers will increasingly use hygiene ratings as a key issue in deciding which restaurants to visit. The ratings place all Friday’s restaurants significantly higher than renowned UK eateries including The Ivy, Nobu and Claridges. The scheme, previously known as ‘Scores on the Doors’ and run by the Food Standards Association (FSA), rates all restaurants from zero to five for their food hygiene practices. The rating is the latest in a list of awards and accolades which includes Friday’s One Star achievement from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and a third place finish in Sunday Times Best Places to Work. Upon receiving the rating of five, Friday’s was praised for an internal audit process that actually exceeds the standards set for a top rating by the FSA. Melissa Paradiso, brand protection support manager at TGI Friday’s UK, said: “Consumers are increasingly taking hygiene into consideration when making their restaurant choices. It doesn’t matter how good the food and drink may be – having perfect hygiene is an absolute basic, which every restaurant should have as a core principal. Despite us expecting nothing less, we are still delighted to have achieved the great accolade of having all our restaurants receive the top grade achievable in the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. It is part of a wider journey to nothing but excellence in all areas of the business at Friday’s which is something our ever-increasing numbers of guests expect.” Meanwhile, TGI Friday’s chief executive Karen Forrester has told Propel she believes the brand could double its presence in the UK to 120 sites. She said: “We are at 60 sites today – I think we can double that. I never, ever want Friday’s to be on every street corner - It has to still have that bit of destination appeal. But we’ve started working on next-generation Friday’s which will be where we can go into maybe smaller, more aspirational locations, with a more grown-up offer, maybe a more limited menu, smaller footprint, more sophisticated design, much more cocktail-based again. Our Covent Garden site is 10,000 square feet – front-of-house is about 5,000 square foot. When you think about the rents we pay, to have 50% of this building behind the scenes is frightening. The next generation I think will be about four, four-and-a-half thousand feet up. We’re also working on a smaller footprint Friday’s because we’ve been a bit stuck in this paradigm that Friday’s has to be huge. Well, I think as long as you’re sure of the DNA, you can deliver that DNA whatever size, whatever four walls you go in to. But it’s critical that we always have the bar as the energetic engine, and the open kitchen to balance that out. So I think we can go into smaller footprints. We desperately want to get into transport hubs, and we’re working on that as well - to have another offer for transport hubs. There’s still plenty of growth in this business.”
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