Starting in November, TGI Fridays will step into uncharted territory. The casual dining chain will start delivering alcohol along with food in Texas, becoming the first restaurant chain to ever send spirits to a patron’s door.
Diners who use TGI Fridays’ app will have a chance to select beer, wine, and other liquors from the brand’s menu.
The chain announced Thursday it linked with third-party delivery service Lash. When an order is placed, Lash will drive to a local liquor store partner, pick up the bottles of alcohol, and then head to TGI Fridays for the food before traveling to the guest.
The tests will begin in Houston and Dallas, and then roll out to locations across the country in 2018 if all goes well.
TGI Fridays and Lash have taken a “block-by-block” strategy to tackling the legal issues of delivering alcohol, according to Business Insider.
One of the options available to order will be the “everything but the booze” kit. It contains a pouch of mixer, garnishes, a shaker, and two holiday-themed glasses. This allows diners to mix the drink at home. TGI Fridays is also considering an option where bartenders can be hired via the app and sent to somebody’s house.
Lash drivers will check IDs and refuse delivery to users who appear intoxicated.
In a challenging casual dining space, TGI Fridays has continued to lean on its digital and bar-themed strengths—two areas the company believes separate it from the pack. Read more about TGI Fridays’ digital efforts here.
The company recently said its takeout sales have grown 30 percent since launching online ordering last summer. Its online check is also 7.2 percent higher than in-store orders.
TGI Fridays told CNBC that it is still working on how much it will charge guests for delivery, and if it will offer a flat charge or base it on the distance or order total.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse launched alcohol delivery in August, but the service is restrained to craft beer and wines. Buffalo Wild Wings is also planning to test beer delivery.
All are looking to further cash in on an off-premises category that is one of casual dining’s lone bright spots in recent months.
Take-out and delivery account for only about 10 percent of overall sales, up from about 8 percent two years ago in casual dining, according to industry tracker TDn2K. But the profit margins and room to growth are substantial.
Check out how TGI Fridays’ delivery plan will work in the video below.