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TGI Fridays to add C3 virtual brands to 170 US restaurants

Expanded dark-kitchen partnership follows investment in C3 by restaurant chain’s parent

TGI Fridays will bring C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) virtual brands into Fridays restaurants, expanding a relationship with the digital restaurant ecosystem begun this summer. A total of 170 Fridays will be installed with C3 digital kitchens enabling them to sell on- and off-premises meals from C3’s portfolio of digital restaurants. This follows a $10M investment in C3 by the parent company of Fridays, TriArtisan Capital Partners, announced in August.

C3, founded and led by Sam Nazarian, has a portfolio of 40 culinary brands, including virtual and brick-and-mortar establishments, such as Umami Burger, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, Krispy Rice, Kumi, Cicci di Carne, Cindy Lou’s Cookies, Soom Soom Fresh Mediterranean, as well as new concepts El Pollo Verde, Plant Nation and Sa’Moto.

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It also operates the Citizens Manhattan West food hall in New York—a project with Brookfield Properties—and is developing food halls in Atlanta and MiamiCentral.

The up to $1M in additional revenue generated from underutilized space per store will be a welcome initiative for the owners of TGI Fridays A successful test pilot of the program was conducted in September in Orange County, Calif.and Maryland. Fridays stores doubled digital sales from the first week. Phase II will add additional Fridays restaurants to the dark kitchen program.

TGI Fridays owner TriArtisan invested in C3 as part of $80M Series B funding raise led by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and REEF Technology, with participation from Egon Durban and Greg Mondre, managing partners and co-CEOs of Silver Lake Partners.

As part of its partnership with TGI Fridays, C3 will also provide access to its mobile ordering app, Go by Citizens, powered by restaurant technology company Lunchbox. Average C3 orders on the GO app are 78% higher than any other client currently on Lunchbox’s platform, notes C3, as the app can present several virtual-restaurant orders to a customer on a single ticket.

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“As the restaurant industry continues to adapt to changing consumer demographics and tastes, we are thrilled to partner with C3 and expand our capacity to provide innovative meals to today’s discerning consumer,” said Ray Blanchette, the CEO of TGI Fridays . “We feel our work with Sam and his team will allow us to further build on the exceptional performance we have been able to deliver in the post-Covid environment. We are leveraging the opportunity to sell both in-restaurant experiences and high quality delicious food in a multi-channel off premises environment.

C3 operates 250 digital kitchens in the US and is targeting 1,000 locations nationwide based on its development pipeline.

“The partnership with TGI Fridays has been our utmost priority at C3,” added Nazarian, commenting on the progress thus far in the first phase of the TGI Fridays rollout. “As an American institution, TGI Friday’s already had significant scale in operation. We’re aiming to complement this scale, by providing our food tech ecosystem and renowned digital restaurant brands. I’m excited to see more C3 restaurant brands cooked out of TGI Friday’s kitchens and to join together as perfect partners in the digital kitchen revolution!”

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