Archive for category General interest

How’s the book coming?


Thanks for asking. My objective with the book has been to teach, little did I know how much I would learn. The re-connection with past associates has been an incredible experience by itself. After assembling an encyclopedia of  knowledge and experiences that I wanted to share in a first draft, we began to learn about the world of change that is book publishing today. The principle changes have been associated with the impact of  e-books. I jokingly call the biggest change the “Twitter’ attention span.  We are on the fourth and fifth drafts, bringing the writing style into the world of e-book compliance. Casper is doing a great job and we both agree the changes greatly improve the book and it’s readability. This process has delayed our time table by about six months but the additional time and effort has been very worthwhile. Soon we will submit to our agent for his approval. The latest working title is THE POWER OF EXCELLENCE.  





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We are in what is called the information age. So it is logical to assume that we are more informed. The world has always faced major issues but in this age of enlightenment you would think we would be more informed about these issues and their solutions. It is true that we are in the information age and researching the issues is pretty easy (remember I am a Techno-Geezer). With that in mind try and have an informed discussion of today’s major issues and causes. I don’t care what your stand on the issues happens to be, as long as it has some basis in fact. You can try to have a fact based discussion about – solar power – wind power – charitable organizations – political parties – global warming – gun control – immigration – history – oil exploration – economics – organic foods – electric cars – taxes – the list of issues is endless and if you are armed with facts you will probably be the only one in the room. Emotion, misinformation and feelings manipulated by politicians and and special interests rule!  We are led to believe one thing, when the facts indicate the opposite is true. Pick an issue and independently become informed on both sides of the issue (it will be enlightening!). Then try and have an informed discussion. I am not advocating a side I am advocating being independently informed about what ever side you choose. IT IS JUST COMMON SENSE!

BOOK PLUG: “When in doubt look at the results!” – Daniel R. Scoggin

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Friday’s standard of excellence made franchising difficult. My domestic attempts ended with the buy back of the restaurants. It was  frustrating to have people pay you so much money just to ignore your direction. After the buy back, when returned to the founding principles, the restaurants returned to prosperity.

International expansion, however, could best be accomplished with nationals in each country. I established very strict requirements, increased training requirements and was very careful in partner selection. We were very fortunate to have as our first partner Whitbread, a large diversified UK company. The key to their selection and ultimate success was Tony Hughes. Under his leadership Friday’s was incredibly successful. Later, after his departure, things changed and a near failure took place. We tell this story in the last chapter of my book, with a happy ending. The book also establishes the clear pattern going all the way back to our near failure in the beginning of Friday’s history.  Can you say ‘Back to the basics!’

We established a clear and successful template for international franchise expansion. Prior to our entry, many franchised concepts modified their fare to accommodate local tastes and food preferences. It was my belief that even though the British drank their beer at a different temperature, had their salads in a different meal sequence, etc., we  were an American restaurant and would do EVERYTHING EXACTLY as we were doing it in the U.S.  At the time this was controversial it but proved to be a major component of our success.

We have watched Karen Forrester demonstrate CLEARLY  that the founding principles of Friday’s work whenever and wherever applied. We devote the last chapter of my book to her story. You say, but Dan, you are repeating yourself , and I say yes but I AM PROMOTING MY BOOK, so you will probably hear it again.

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I get asked the question quite often, what were the roles you and Alan Stillman played in the historical development of Friday’s?  Alan was the creative genius that created Friday’s. He came up with the name, trade dress and clearly tapped into  the hottest market of the century. Being a New Yorker and creative, his development stayed in New York and cleverly involved the other days of the week. In  69′ or 70′ he was approached by the Memphis Overton Square developers seeking to have an anchor for their development a New York style bar and  sidewalk cafe. A deal was done and they opened in 1971. Luckily for the future of the concept they were first class people and improved on the original design. Seeing small southern towns  as his opportunity Alan signed in rapid succession, Nashville, Jackson, Little Rock and Shreveport.  Support systems and operating manuals were minimal. The name, trade dress and market opportunity carried the day.

I viewed the opportunity as more universal and put together an agreement for 8 major cities and founded, what would become, todays T.G.I. Friday’s Inc. I brought business systems, controls, best practices and  maybe the first computer systems to the restaurant  industry from my 10 years of experience at Boise Cascade. Seeing a different future, I upgraded everything, a new prototype (the now famous raised square bar), doubled the restaurant and seating capacity, used first class artifacts, stained glass and Herbert Hughes as designer.  At one point Alan told me I was going to too much trouble, “just put up the red and white awning, hang the ferns and tiffany lamps and be done with it”. We focused on product improvement; hired Vic Smith for the bar and Joe Snouffer for the kitchen both of whom would go on to be legends in the company’s history. Believing in our future success,even before we opened, while at the Little Rock opening I suggested to Alan he merge with me. He politely laughed off the offer.  He would return six months later and we would merge.  Alan becoming a minor partner in my company. You see, we had opened with double the sales and triple the profits of any previous Friday’s. All the trouble had paid off!

In spite of these great beginnings we soon were on track to fail. Volumes were falling, as much as 50%, following our store openings like dominos in a row. What Friday’s was to become was the result of our reaction to this crisis. My development of the now famous ‘Theories and Philosophies’ was in response to this near failure. Within six months of implementing these ‘T&P’ we recovered and began exceeding original volumes, growing these volumes for the next decade. This story is what my book is all about!

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We are very happy to announce hat we have been picked up by one of New York’s top literary agents. He loves the book! His client list is very impressive and his enthusiasm for our work is gratifying. We are in celebration mode and will be for the foreseeable future. With a goal of excellence we are working and reworking every page and will not quit until the publisher says stop or I’ll run you through the press!!!!

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Cowboy capital of the World

Biker Bar Austinimage imageWriting a book is interesting enough on it’s own but in cowboy country you are treated to great sunrises, strange bar seats along with your memories. Bandera, claims the title above and the bar stools are part of the gig. The black and white photo is from the first international Fridays, Birmingham, England. Magic Mike pours while Tim Thwaites Whitbread Chairman – Retail and I observe.

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imageimageimageMY CROWD

I think I’ve mentioned before that I love technology! So you can imagine when George Barton, casually mention, that I could make my own mobile scan block, how long it took me to get right on it! My new cards with my QR code are on their way! If you want to quickly go in a circle, scan the QR above and it will route you right back here. There are some funny lines that would describe that rotation but I’ll pass!

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Restaurant History



The restaurant business in the late 60’s and early 70’s was a creative explosion of concepts and the industry as a whole. Most of the chains and industry segments of today came from that period. I started to use Pioneers as an adjective but it really was more like the Wild West.




My book is not about restaurants or the industry’s history. I will deal with that exciting subject in a second book. This book is about principle driven decision making, in both business and  personal life. My visit in Dallas reminded me of a point of principle.. Mariano has successfully grown his business and gotten better at  MPH (making people happy) every year. He has stuck to his founding principles.

During this Wild West era there were the creators and the collectors, the founders and the companies that bought them out. The failure rate of the acquisitions was  high and the performance of the survivors lack luster and missing innovation. The question is WHY, I will address this in my book, AND,  the WHY applies universally to business.

Trip down memory lane!


In the early 50’s I traveled Route 66  in the back of my dad’s 1937 Chevy. The trip was from California to Arkansas to visit my grandparents. We had amenities you may not recognize, besides the ’37 Chevy, there was an evaporator water bottle and air cooler. Sandy and I crisscrossed Route 66 multiple times today and in fact are lodged on the famous highway tonight.

We are on our way to Texas to meet with Casper and finish the book. Looking in the rear view mirror, the differences are incredible, from the trip with my parents. In addition to the modern freeway, we were riding in the comfort of a  modern BMW, talking on an iPhone while working with an editor, online, on a Mac Book Air. Oh yeah, with an iced cooler of drinks. What would my parents think!

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colourful-cocktail-hi olympicrings tgif-logo0511-1008-1002-0049_Bartender_Shaking_a_Martini_clipart_imageJimmy Skeadas one of Friday’s original Master Bartenders and currently President of Showtenders suggested  we put up a page for comments from the original Friday’s Master Bartenders. Stories, reconnects and general fun is welcomed. Just hop on the comment slot below. Participation earns priority seating on the ‘Magic Bus’ when it tours from 63rd & 1st to Marina Del Rey.

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