TGI Fridays chain tells staff no more free meals at work

This after parent company makes £18m in six months; Unite says Thank God they are not all like Fridays

21 Apr 2023| News

Unite the union has blasted restaurant chain TGI Fridays for scrapping free meals for low paid staff working 10-hour shifts, often late at night.

Fridays claims the move is to “provide more equitable benefits to everyone in our teams”, however Unite accused the profitable company of trying to squeeze already hard-pressed staff for extra cash.

UK-based Hostmore group owns 85 Fridays restaurants in the UK and Jersey, one Fridays and Go quick service restaurant and four 63rd+1st Cocktail bars.

Hostmore’s latest financial report shows it brought in revenues of £98.5 million in the first half of 2022 and an EBITDA (a calculation used to show a company’s profitability) of £17.8 million, most of which came from Fridays restaurants.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:

“Unfortunately we would not expect anything less from a company that did its best to deny its workers their fair tips and was shamed for failing to pay the minimum wage.

To deny extremely busy staff working 10 hour shifts a meal from the kitchen is a new low even for the hospitality industry. Fridays workers will receive all the support they need from Unite however they decide to fight against this greedy and frankly revolting attempt to rake in more profits.”

In 2018, Unite members at Fridays forced the company to back down on its plans to cut all card tips by 20 per cent after going on strike.

During the same year, TGI Fridays was named and shamed by the government for failing to pay the minimum wage to over 2,300 workers.

Unite hospitality organiser Kevin Reynolds said:

“It says a lot about a company’s leadership when they decide to axe free subsidised meals for staff already on poverty pay during the worst period of food inflation in living memory.

“This will seriously impact Fridays workers already struggling to keep their heads above water. This is about greed not need – Fridays can afford to provide free shift meals to staff and that is what it should do.”