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PHOENIX -- A national restaurant chain is downsizing in Arizona.

T.G.I. Friday's said in a written statement that it has closed several of its Arizona locations due to undisclosed "business reasons."

We've closed some of our restaurants in Arizona due to business reasons. This was a very difficult decision as we understand the impact it has on guests who enjoy dining at our restaurants, and on our team members who worked with us. We've partnered closely with our team members to provide job assistance and severance pay, as applicable. Our restaurants in Arizona are owned and operated by the Briad Group, our largest franchisee. They will continue to operate more than 70 Fridays across the U.S. We appreciate and thank our loyal customers for visiting our restaurants over the years.

Research Professor Tim James of Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business isn't surprised about the closings.

"Friday's has lost some of its distinctive nature," he said. "Its sort of in a middle group of chain restaurants like Chili's, Golden Corral, etc. They're all trying quite aggressively to gain market share at the moment. Friday's needs to find ways to refresh itself, make itself renew and make it attractive for people to go there again."

Arizona Restaurant Association President Steve Chucri echoed James' opinions. He said that the life cycle of any restaurant chain is about 20 years because restaurants lose popularity if they don't refresh themselves. He called Friday's a "tired brand," and said he would not be surprised if more close around the country.

Two Phoenix locations are still open, including the Friday's Front Row at Chase Field. One location in Tucson is also still open.

The Briad Group operates about 70 T.G.I. Friday's locations nationwide.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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