T.G.I. Friday's is looking for an Obama bump. The chain, part of the struggling casual-dining industry, is throwing what it calls "the world's largest Inauguration party." As part of the Jan. 20 extravaganza, the chain is orchestrating a 9 p.m. toast, offering free food (chips with salsa and ranch dip) to its rewards program members, and a free "Friday's style" button. (Insert your own "Office Space" joke here.)
The folks at Friday's also seem hoping it's a good way to get folks in their restaurants on a Tuesday.
"We look for any excuse to have a great time, and the inauguration was the perfect way to get a party going on a Tuesday," Andrew Jordan, senior VP-marketing for Friday's, said in a press release.
Friday's is also offering half-price appetizers for the entire month of January, and special drink prices at participating locations. "In other words," Jordan said, "in those restaurants where we can do it legally."
That's actually a good thing to keep in mind, because not all election-related promotions have been legal. Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's both had to alter Election Day promotions because it's illegal to offer any form of reward for voting.
So while it's a blatant ploy for the Gen X and Y consumers who are generally big fans of the president-elect, at least it's unlikely to pique the attorney general's interest. It just remains to be seen if it will arouse anyone else's.