A string of New Jersey TGI Friday’s restaurants have been busted for selling cheap liquor in place of premium brands. The Briad Group, which owns dozens of TGI Friday’s locations nationwide, has agreed not to contest the allegations and to pay a $500,000 fine after eight of its branches were found to have filled empty bottles of top shelf booze with bottom shelf adjuncts.
Briad says it is “pleased” that a deal with New Jersey state authorities has been reached and claims to have taken measures to prevent the practice from happening again.
After numerous customer complaints, the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control studied samples of drinks ordered in the restaurants and found that the casual dining chain was casually misrepresenting the contents of its premium cocktails. Authorities also relied on the testimony of confidential informants—presumably bartenders and servers tired of losing tips from disgruntled patrons.
The crackdown, dubbed “Operation Swill,” saw raids in 13 Briad Group franchises and the seizure of 250 bottles of booze. "Briad's restaurants were scamming customers by serving them a cheap substitute for what they ordered," New Jersey's Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement.
"This unlawful practice took advantage of consumers who were cheated out of what they thought they were purchasing.
"This fine should send a clear message to every bar and restaurant throughout New Jersey that customers should get what they pay for every time without exception."
Let’s all raise a glass of Kentucky Gentleman to the crack team at the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (and pretend it’s a glass of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked).