Saturday May 9, 2009
Today, T.G.I. Friday's — which, like most casual-dining chains, has taken a hit during the recession — will unveil plans to sell all salads and sandwiches for $5 all day in May. The move follows a recent rollout by Chili's of 10 entrees for less than $7.
A $5 price tag at sit-down restaurants hasn't been seen in quite awhile. "It's a magic number," says Malcolm Knapp, a researcher who tracks the $75 billion casual-dining industry, which saw same-store sales drop 4.9% in March. The $5 meal, he says, "is affordable to everyone."
The question: Can Friday's afford it? A steak sandwich that usually fetches $11.75 will go for $5, as will a pecan-crusted chicken salad, normally $9.69. All are full-size portions. The chain hasn't had such low prices on its menu since it opened in 1965.
Friday's executives insist that beyond being a recession response, the $5 menu is a way to drum up interest in nine new salads and sandwiches. "The consumer needs something that gives them permission to experiment — and this is it," says Andrew Jordan, marketing chief at Friday's USA. Go to Full Story