TGI Fridays, the iconic casual dining chain, has appointed longtime board member and seasoned restaurant executive Weldon Spangler as its new CEO, succeeding Brandon Coleman, who resigned for personal reasons after a brief tenure since August. Coleman was promoted following the departure of former CEO Ray Blanchette in May.
The Dallas-based company said Spangler is now poised to lead the company through its implementation of TGI Fridays’ growth plan to revitalize the brand on a global scale. Currently, there are 700 TGI Fridays restaurants in 51 countries.
Spangler brings extensive background in the restaurant industry, and his career spans over 30 years, during which he has built a reputation for a focus on customer experience, store operations, and marketing with successful tenures at Subway, Papa Murphy’s, Dunkin’ Brands, and Starbucks.
With Spangler at the helm, TGI Fridays said it is poised to put in place its new strategic plan for growth, innovation, and excellence.
Rohit Manocha, co-founder of TriArtisan Capital, a New York-based private equity firm and the controlling shareholder of TGI Fridays with extensive experience in the restaurant sector, will continue to collaborate closely with Spangler and the TGI Fridays team in his role as the active chairman of the company.
In a recent statement, Spangler expressed gratitude towards Rohit and the board for their confidence, and said he looks forward to executing on TGI Friday’s “new growth-oriented business plan” focused on revitalizing the fast-casual brand.
“We are a well-loved brand around the world,” he said, adding that’s a “strong foundation” to build on.
Expanding ‘That Fridays Feeling’
Amid the executive changes, Fridays said it continues to bring “That Fridays Feeling” to people, most recently a single serve at a time. In October, the chain announced an exclusive deal with Walmart to extend its frozen food offerings. Walmart will offer four new frozen meals at 2,500 stores nationwide: Whiskey-Glazed Chicken and Mashed Potatoes, Spicy Cajun Style Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Spinach and Artichoke Sauce Chicken and Rice, and Whiskey-Glazed Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese.
“We are excited about extending the TGI Fridays brand in the frozen meal category,” Kathleen Schloth, senior vice president of Brand Licensing said in a statement. “These new entrées bring restaurant quality and innovation to the frozen aisle, providing convenience and ‘That Fridays Feeling’ to enjoy at home.”
The new line of meals is only available at Walmart.
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