If TGI Fridays’ new ribs could make it in Texas and St. Louis, they could make it anywhere. The casual dining chain’s Big Ribs debuted to strong reviews in both barbecue-crazed cities, encouraging Fridays to roll out the 30-percent bigger product to national audiences. On October 18, the item will join menus at the brand’s 500 or so U.S. locations.
Fridays began the announcement by perhaps taking a veiled dig at its competition, saying, “We don’t have a goofy jingle to share here, just some BIG news about TGI Fridays new Big Ribs.” The jingle likely referencing Chili’s, which recently brought back its “I Want My Baby Back,” campaign to promote a “Less is More” menu 40 percent smaller than its previous offering. Chili’s fajitas also now feature nearly 50 percent more meat. It’s baby back ribs? Thirty percent more.
Fridays released a 15-second TV spot to announce the item. Check it out here.
Fridays’ new Big Ribs come served on a butcher block instead of “a boring old white plate” and were consistently ranked superior to the chain’s baby backs in both taste and quality during tests, Fridays says.
In those pilot markets, the Big Ribs drove a 45 percent increase in carryout sales, with guests ordering online via the Fridays’ website and app, Facebook, Twitter, and AmazonPay, the company said.
Fridays has said its takeout sales grew 30 percent since launching online ordering last summer. Its online check is also 7.2 percent higher than in-store orders.
The Big Ribs showcase new flavor options, such as Sweet Memphis and Savory Bacon Crusted as well, in addition to the classic Fridays Original BBQ and Jack Daniel’s BBQ. They are slow-cooked in-house and marinated for 24 hours in Fridays’ blend of citrus and smoke flavors. They’re then fire-grilled and seasoned.
The Big Ribs come with new premium sides, like Brussel sprouts, Giant Onion Rings, coleslaw, fries, and Backed Mac & Cheese, for $12.99.
The news is the latest innovation for Fridays, which announced in September its plans to become the first major restaurant chain to deliver spirits. Tests are set to begin November in Texas. Diners who user the Fridays’ app will have a chance to select beer, wine, and other liquors from the brand’s menu. With third-party delivery service Lash, Fridays will begin the service in Houston and Dallas, and then expand to locations across the country in 2018 if all goes well.