UK-based Harrison to energise T.G.I. Friday’s architectural design in the US

Europe Uncategorized

Hot on the heels of its successful UK revamp of the T.G.I. Friday’s look, London and Birmingham-based architectural and leisure brand consultancy Harrison has headed across the Atlantic to help energise the iconic brand in the USA, the country where it was first launched nearly fifty years ago.

HarrisonThe move is part of an international design strategy by T.G.I. Friday’s parent company, Carlson Restaurants, which has spent the past three years working with Harrison on a new global design plan.  The first stage is currently being rolled out to over 30 existing sites across the US, and in new restaurants, most recently in Nashville, Tennessee.

Harrison managing director Philip Harrison said: “T.G.I. Friday’s has to be one of the most iconic restaurant brands in the western world.  It has over 900 sites globally and I have to say it is a great privilege and a massive compliment to be asked to advise on its design profile, particularly in the country where it all started. 

“One of our key areas of focus for the T.G.I. Friday’s product is on ‘brand drift’.  As is usually the case with high profile names in long-term existence, market positioning gradually ebbs away from some of its key values.  We are helping Carlson re-connect with the brand’s core propositions and re-invigorate its unique selling points in an impactful way for a modern customer marketplace.  The concept is moving from one of functionality to one of personality.”

Harrison explained that the changes the company are currently making to the brand reflect the complex nature of service positioning in the US’s diverse hospitality market. 

He said:  “Some of the brand evolution appears to be quite subtle, but there are some radical changes in the guest experience through design, brought about by the requirement to repeat the inspirational, iconic statement and emotional connection that T.G.I. Friday’s was all about when it first launched.

“The branding has always been about fun, and the new design brings this back to the fore, appearing bright, cool and aspirational.  Zoning is very evident in the new layout, with the bar, dining and flex areas merging effortlessly and creating an effective flow for the infectious T.G.I. Friday’s energy.    

“This whole approach has been fully supported by Carlson, and this is manifesting itself in the high quality of materials and fixtures that we are able to specify.” 

Restaurant seating and tables are larger than previously, whilst accessories reflect traditional brand values but with a modern twist.  The characteristic red and white colour scheme remains, but has been toned down with complementary, richer finishes.  Raised open ceilings, where possible, create dynamic and powerful spaces.

The decor has been brought up-to-date, memorabilia minimised and complementary design features have been thoughtfully sited throughout.  Unique commissioned artwork combine with strategic use of mirrors, frames and textures to create an authentic and engaging environment.
A further design alteration is the introduction of an open cook line which promotes the fresh food preparation at each site.  Not only does this add interest and vitality, it also frees up extra space for seating and operational vantage points.

Harrison first made its name in the bar and restaurant sector over twenty years ago, masterminding the development of the All Bar One brand in the UK for Mitchells & Butlers.  Further high profile brands handled by the consultancy include Nando’s, Giraffe and YO! Sushi.

Harrison is a leading international hospitality design consultancy based in the UK.  Full details of the company’s services and specialisms are available at: