Sadly, hand-crafted food trucks and trendy small plates were not enough to save TGI Fridays from slumping sales: The chain has announced that it will no longer run the majority of its company-owned locations. According to the Wall Street Journal, the private equity firm-owned dealer of mozzarella sticks and potato skins will sell most of its 247 locations in the U.S. to franchisees. The chain also has plans to sell the 63-company owned locations in the UK to franchisees.
TGI Fridays’ CEO Nick Shepard tells the paper: "We had to decide: are we a franchiser or an operator of restaurants? When you do both, the franchisees worry that the parent company is focusing on its restaurants first." Fortune notes that the chain's "peers in the restaurant industry" have made similar moves: Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Applebee’s have all switched to models where a majority of the group's restaurants are owned by franchisees. Companies like franchising outlets because it "reduces their expenses and exposure to elements beyond their control." So don't worry, unlimited plates of chicken wings aren't actually going anywhere — unless this last ditch effort to increase profitability also fails.