Archive for February, 2014



Recently, I was a judge at the Friday’s Bartender Championships in London and will be attending the World Bartender competition in Dallas this coming week. I am often asked how did this all get started?

Consumer tastes are constantly evolving. We call this the ‘yellow brick road’. In the early 80’s the ‘road’ was turning away from heavy consumption of alcohol. This resulted in an industry-wide decline in sales. Many chose the easy answer by discounting prices and promoting happy hours.

Friday’s policies supported the efforts of MADD and community responsibility. We felt promoting more consumption of alcohol through volume discounts and price promotions was the wrong answer to sagging sales. Our answer was to promote drinking quality, through educating the customer to the finest of alcohol beverage products and entertaining them while doing it.

We became the largest purveyor of fine cognacs, scotch whiskeys and unusual wines. We even FedExed a DC-10 full of Beaujolais Nouveau to celebrate the fun worldwide race to have this iconic wine delivered first. We produced a popular drink menu, with over 600 drinks. It was over an inch think and can be bought on eBay today due to its high theft rate.

Last but not least, Friday’s was always known for having the best bartenders in the world. They were always entertaining and executed clever showmanship behind the bar. As a part of the strategy to improve sales responsibly, we decided to formalize, train and develop what they called ‘flair’! This led to intra-company competition and eventually to the worldwide phenomena you see today.

 We solved the decline in sales and in fact grew sales through innovation. The lesson is anyone can ‘cut price’ but it’s more effective, in the long run, to innovate. Oh! And it is more FUN!

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 See an earlier blog I posted called a ‘Tale of Two Friday’s” and then watch this youtube video. You will see the original Friday’s culture is once again alive and well!


Terry McDowel recieves Friday’s Founders Award Pin


                                                                                                               Terry & Karen


Terry McDowel, Friday’s culinary leader for the UK, was awarded the prestigious Friday’s Founders award pin at a company meeting held in a castle in Ireland. His tireless work to restore the quality and innovative character of Friday’s food has added fuel to the growing success of the iconic brand in the UK. Friday’s once known for outstanding food and creative innovation can benefit worldwide from the leadership being shown in this area, by Karen, Terry and the entire UK Friday’s Family. Their results continue to be record breaking!

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Winston Churchill