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Updated Apr 18, 2013 - 4:27 pm

T.G.I. Friday's closes several Arizona locations

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.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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