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Is TGI Fridays Preparing for a Millennial-Bait Makeover?

Warning: sun-drenched blond wood and a juice bar ahead

TGI Fridays/Facebook

It's no secret that chains are hungry for millennials. Companies from McDonald's to KFC to Pizza Hut have revamped their business strategies in a desperate effort to lure in that elusive demographic, and in many cases that's meant retooling the interiors of their restaurants.

The latest big name to undergo a hopeful millennial-bait makeover is TGI Fridays, the Dallas-based casual dining chain known for endless mozzarella sticks and dangerous mistletoe drones. The company just opened a prototype location in Corpus Christi, Texas, reports Adweek, and it's a far cry from the dark, tchotchke-laden locations folks have come to expect from Fridays.

TGI Fridays

[Photo: TGI Fridays]

The sun-drenched prototype restaurant looks like it's trying to resemble a buzzy breakfast-and-lunch spot where you'd find diners feasting on fancy $12 toast, though the effect leans a bit modern-day hospital cafeteria, with soft pastel colors and lots of blond wood. (What, no Edison bulbs or mason jars?) It's open all day beginning at 7 a.m., and features wifi and a coffee and juice bar, plus live music and trivia at night. "In addition to capturing the after-work or weekend crowd, Fridays hopes to be seen as a viable lunch destination, a place for an office meeting or a home base for work-at-home types who are tired of actually working at home," notes Adweek.

That's right, Fridays is vying for that "third place" status Starbucks originally claimed. At least the Fridays makeover doesn't seem quite as thirsty as KFC's: New store designs for the chicken chain involve chicken bucket chandeliers and chalkboards that will be updated daily with the name of the farm where the day's poultry came from. (No, really.)

An Eater inquiry to TGI Fridays was not immediately returned, but a rep for the company told Adweek, "If the sales are anything like what we've seen already, the likelihood is high" that all of the company's restaurants would convert to the new model being tested in Corpus Christi.