TGI Fridays Continues Brand Evolution with New Executive Hires
Brand Appoints Stephanie Perdue as Chief Marketing Officer and Jerry Comstock as President & Chief Operating Officer
Dallas, TX (RestaurantNews.com) Nationally-acclaimed marketer Stephanie Perdue and long-time restaurateur Jerry Comstock have joined TGI Fridays™ as Chief Marketing Officer and President & Chief Operating Officer, respectively.
Perdue, most recently chief product marketing officer at Taco Bell, is renowned for her creative and innovative thinking, having led the team that designed and delivered the groundbreaking Doritos Locos Tacos (the chain’s most successful product of all time), in addition to introducing the breakfast daypart and several other successful value and new product platforms.
During Perdue’s leadership of Taco Bell’s brand marketing and new product pipeline, the company was awarded Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year and Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company, while Perdue individually was honored with AdWeek’s Advertising Women of New York “Changing the Game” Award and named to Fast Company’s list of the Most Creative People in Business.
“Casual dining, including Fridays™, needs to be more imaginative and differentiated, especially around product innovation, marketing, and customer engagement,” said TGI Fridays Chairman and CEO John Antioco. “Fridays is determined to distinguish itself from the category by leveraging its heritage as a great American bar and grill. Stephanie and Jerry will lead that change in a big way.”
“TGI Fridays has a long history of creating firsts in the industry and I look forward to continuing that tradition by breaking the status quo,” said Perdue. “I am thrilled to help write the next chapter for Fridays as we reimagine the brand for both team members and guests.”
Comstock is joining after an extensive history as an owner and operator of restaurants, including 27 TGI Fridays. As former CEO of Strategic Restaurants Corporation, Comstock has made a career out of maximizing profits at the restaurant level with a keen focus on developing local leadership, emphasizing a commitment to operational excellence, and building a performance-driven culture.
“Jerry is a long-time veteran of the restaurant business, but even more importantly, he knows the Fridays business,” said Antioco. “He spent years fine-tuning best practices for executing a superior guest experience at his restaurants. In addition, he has excellent long-term relationships with Fridays’ franchisees, who now own and operate over 90 percent of our 470 U.S. locations.”
Comstock’s Strategic Restaurants also previously owned nearly 300 Burger King restaurants, and he has held leadership roles at Bennigan’s, Wherehouse Music, and AutoNation.
“Fridays is elevating itself, and one of the places it’s most evident is in the caliber of talent they’re investing in for the company,” said Elie Khoury, owner of Southeast Restaurant Group and co-chair of the Fridays President’s Council. “The addition of Jerry and Stephanie will help accelerate Fridays’ journey as a world-class franchisor and a renowned destination for guests across the U.S., and they are warmly received by Fridays’ franchise community.”
“TGI Fridays has been one of America’s most-loved brands for more than 50 years, and for good reason. Fridays is a destination where people can have fun and be free. Our motto, ‘In Here, It’s Always Friday®,’ says it all,” said Comstock. “Enhancing our operations and energizing our team members to make Fridays the best part of every guest’s day is my top priority. If any restaurant’s going to do that, it’s TGI Fridays.”
The addition of Perdue and Comstock comes on the heels of Fridays’ announcement of being the first national bar and grill brand to offer ordering via Facebook and Twitter. Fans of Fridays can expect to see more such announcements in the coming weeks, including additional digital offerings and an elevated bar-centric menu.
About TGI Fridays
In 1965, Fridays opened its first location in New York City. Today, there are over 900 restaurants in 60 countries which offer high quality, authentic American food and legendary drinks, served with genuine personal service. Bringing people together to socialize and celebrate the freeing and liberating spirit of “Friday” is the concept’s founding premise, from which the brand promise “In Here, It’s Always Friday®” was born. For more information, visit www.Fridays.com or follow us on Twitter at @TGIFridays