Posts Tagged wembley stadium

Karen Forrester recieves Friday’s Founders Award






Karen has restored the ‘real’ Friday’s to the UK. The measure of her success are her  results. Back to the basics, she has won the approval of employees and customers alike which has produced a very desirable return for the company. The Triangle Theory has proven itself once again. Friday’s was built on core values, all centered on a standard of excellence. While winning many awards as an employer, from industry peers in the UK, the real measure of the employee side of the triangle, is her employe morale and enthusiastic performance to the standard of excellence. The heartbeat of any business is the customer and a key measure of their happiness is, do they come back? Karen has doubled customer counts during her tenure. I would say that’s an outstanding endorsement from the customer side of the triangle.

On the company side, as the triangle theory teaches, maximize care of the employee and customer and the company’s side will take care of itself. Karen has increased the number of units by 33%, sales by 100% and profits by over 400% with employee and customer satisfaction beyond measure.  It is so refreshing to see clean well run stores, happy smiling employees and customers returning with their friends. No fancy well-named programs, just the basics and results. While in London, for the first time in years, I walked into clean, sincerely friendly, well run Friday’s.

Karen’s award was conceived and crafted by Friday’s Legendary Alumni.*  I can think of no higher honor than recognition by those who were there in the beginning and made Friday’s a success. It is a real thrill for all of us from the glory days see them recreated. We are very proud of you, Karen, and the entire Friday’s Family you have brought back to life.




*Note:  I will write again soon to explain the symbols used for the Founder’s Award and Pin all developed by Friday’s Legendary Alumni.  These fantastic alumni are:  Mikie Baker, Rush Bowman, Jimmy Foster and Jim West.




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Lonesome Dove is one of my all time favorite books and mini-series. The story begins in the area of Texas where we will have one of our final creative sessions before wrapping up the book. We will be hanging out, but not like the movie scene above, in and around Bandera, Texas (cowboy capital of the world.). Heavy thinking will be conducted while floating the river pictured above. We have had many working titles and the final will, most likely, be selected by the publisher. The essence of the book is PRINCIPLED MANAGEMENT – The founding theories and philosophies of an American ICON. The final title will convey this in some form or fashion. I am very happy with Mikie’s reformatting and latest draft. Jimmy’s graphics add a nice touch and help set the ‘fish hooks to the brain’ for the reader.

I am very happy to be reconnecting with Friday’s.  Sandy and I will be visiting Nick Shepherd, CEO, Carlson Restaurants and spending a couple of days at his Dallas home. Ironically, his house is near the house I built when I lived in Dallas. We will tour the corporate office, where I am told a conference room has been named in my honor. Wow! I really appreciate Nick doing all of this for me. We will leave Dallas and head south for the ‘Lonesome Dove Summit’ with the brain trust. 

In September I am honored to be attending T.G.I Friday’s, U.K. annual meeting at Wembley Stadium. I have a presentation for Karen Forrester, CEO AND SENIOR V.P.  She has asked me to be the head judge at their bartender competition. While there I will be given the opportunity to teach a class to the senior management and tour a few of the stores in the London area. This experience will give me the final perspective I need to complete the chapter on Karen and her phenomenal success.

On a personal note, I wrote a blog earlier, giving my thoughts on losing weight.  I lamented the blimp I had become while writing the book and becoming addicted to non-stop snacking. I am happy to report I am approaching the forty pound mark………….without Jenny Craig!

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I have the honor of attending Friday’s UK annual conference being held at Wembley Stadium, the theme ‘Update and Celebrate’. Karen Forrester, Senior Vice President & CEO, Friday’s UK, is the best natural leader I have met in my long business career. When she holds one of these events it is truly inspiring. I am presenting her with surprise award, first and only of it’s kind. I am also working on getting an interview the London Times reporter who prematurely reported my demise in a restaurant review back in 1990. Karen has asked me to be the Head Judge at their Bar Champs competition. I am delighted to participate and have already put out the word that “I can be bought!” 

The origins of the many worldwide bartender competitions, including the Bartender Olympics, come as a result of a marketing challenge Friday’s faced in the early 80’s. (Note: This event gained enough fame that the Olympic authorities took note and the name had to be changed……personally I think they should just added it as an event!!!)  As I mention in the book the market place is like a meandering road. One must stay alert and follow it or land in the ditch. In the early 80’s we and the industry at large were faced with declining bar sales. The crusade, which I supported, against drunk drivers and a increasingly health conscious consumer, were the primary causes for the decline.

Most of my competitors responded, as they do today, with discounts, two for one’s, give aways and lavish happy hours. Our approach was to educate our patrons to the better experiences in beverage alcohol. We became the largest seller of Hennessy XO, a high end cognac. We were introducing the latest boutique wines from around the world, especially wines from California . One of our biggest promotions, fun and educational for many, was our entrance into the race to be first to the United States with Beaujolais Nouveau. This is a fun worldwide event. The first year I flew the Beaujolais Nouveau back on the Concord and gave a press party in New York City with Tony Randall as our spokesperson. My last year we flew a FedEx DC-10 full of the wine to Memphis for early distribution. After I left Friday’s, the new management, in order to reduce costs, tried using California beaujolais. It was a non-event??????? By departing from the true event  the promotion died.

We also introduced a whole line of non-alcoholic drinks called flings, mmmmmmm-good. The amazing thing we introduced as part of our marketing plan was entertainment at the bar in the form of ‘Flair’! I call it amazing because of the worldwide phenomenon Flair has created. Tom Cruise was trained by a former Friday’s bartender for the movie ‘Cocktail’. So after all these years it seems fitting that I be one of the judges at Karen’s Bar Champs competition and if I can pick up a little money on the side………………………….so!

Oh, by the way, WE INCREASED BEVERAGE SALES, no coupons, discounting, advertising or give aways. Just pursuing our standard of EXCELLENCE!

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