11/5/2013 12:00:00 AM
TGI Fridays © the latest phenomenon to enter the fast-growing leisure and entertainment sector in Sri Lanka was declared open by Hon. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary of Defence and Urban Development and his wife, Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksa, on Thursday, October 17, 2013.
Located at one of the oldest buildings in Fort dating back to 1896 the TGI Fridays Restaurant is adjacent to the historic Dutch Hospital at No 23, Canal Row, Colombo - Fort. The 191 seat Restaurant stylishly refurbished by Cargills brims with old-world architectural charm with a very contemporary finish adding much energy and colour to the already transformed Dutch Hospital Precinct.
TGI Fridays, a global Brand that can raise industry standards
Cargills (Ceylon) PLC is the franchisee of this globally followed entertainment cum dining trend that has stormed the leisure circuit of 60 countries worldwide. Ms. Maljini Jayasekera, Group Manager- Restaurants of Cargills said that over the past few years the sector has experienced an upward trend and is benefitting from the increased number of tourists arrivals to the country. She said, “There is an increasingly evident demand for off-premise restaurants that offer a variety of dining experiences outside city hotels. The number of stand-alone casual and fine-dining restaurants in the Colombo city has increased steadily while the market is also seeking international lifestyle experiences. This is a trend that we see across income groups and is stimulated by the State driven development drive that has re-invigorated the city landscape. We therefore wanted to diversify our interest in the sector with an international brand that would raise industry standards and TGI Fridays was initiated against such a backdrop.”
A franchise partnership with a commitment to the market
Jayasekera explained that getting the right partner to capture the industry opportunity was very important to Cargills. She noted that the brand is a world renowned one with a legacy of having transformed the entertainment and leisure sector of every country it has entered. “The partner TGI Fridays together with its parent Carlson is committed to the markets they enter and it’s a partnership and not simply a franchise,” Jayasekera added.
International training to deliver international dining experience
Mr. Donald MacQueen, International Managing Director, Asia Pacific – TGI Fridays, noted that the restaurant atmosphere is created to give the Friday-feel every day of the week. “Friday is, without a doubt, the best day of the week. That’s as true in New York as it is in Tokyo and everywhere in between. That’s why TGI Fridays celebrates the day every day of the week. The entire restaurant team, its atmosphere, food and beverages are geared to create the Friday’s atmosphere inside the restaurant. The restaurant teams and kitchen staff receive extensive international experience to create the right meals, beverages and give the right service to create the ultimate entertainment-dining experience in any Country,” MacQueen said. Jayasekera added that 58 employment opportunities have been created through the flagship restaurant and each one of the recruits have been exposed to a rigorous international training that would reflect in the client experience
Local sourcing with rigorous supply chain procedures
Majority of the raw material for the restaurant is sourced locally other than in the case of a few signature TGI Fridays dishes. “We have given local players the maximum opportunity whilst exposing them to TGI Fridays food safety standards. Rigorous supply chain audits are conducted to maintain the highest possible sourcing standards to ensure that international TGI Fridays benchmarks are not compromised” Jayasekera added. TGI Friday’ believes in the ‘Farm to Fork’ supply chain philosophy that works to ensure that all fresh produce such as dairy, vegetables and livestock produce is sourced from local agriculture communities creating substantial direct and indirect economic dividends for various stakeholders.
Strategically located heritage property
Jayasekera added that the architects and the Cargills engineering team faced a tremendous challenge in retaining the charm of the old property while also bringing the zest of TGI Fridays into the ambience. “We believe the outcome speaks for itself. We are confident that our efforts would complement those of the State in terms of transforming the city landscape and harnessing the full potential of our resources in line with the country’s socio-economic objectives, “she concluded.