Tags: tgi fridays | top | shelf | liquor

TGI Fridays Top-Shelf Liquor: Restaurants Accused of Refilling Bottles

Image: TGI Fridays Top-Shelf Liquor: Restaurants Accused of Refilling Bottles

Thursday, 23 May 2013 09:21 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Twenty-nine New Jersey bars and restaurants were busted during a raid Wednesday, including 13 from the popular TGI Fridays chain, accused of refilling empty bottles of their most expensive liquor with cheaper alcohol to boost profits, The Star-Ledger reported.

Customer complaints led to a yearlong undercover investigation by the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Dubbed "Operation Swill," authorities seized various liquors and inventory records from the establishments.

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Confidential informants and new technology used to test liquor covertly purchased at the establishments aided in the investigation by detectives before the raid.

The division listed the targeted establishments as:
  • Applebee's, Kearny
  • Bell's Tavern, Lambertville
  • Blackthorn Restaurant, Parsippany
  • The Brick House, Wyckoff
  • Brunswick Grove, East Brunswick
  • Café 34, Matawan
  • Cucina Calandara, Fairfield
  • Graziano's Ristorante, Chesilhurst
  • Italian Affair, Glassboro
  • Murray's, Dover
  • Railroad Café, East Rutherford
  • Ruby Tuesday, Bridgewater
  • Sona Thirteen, Morristown
  • Sunset Tavern, Burlington
  • TGI Fridays, Clifton
  • TGI Fridays, East Hanover
  • TGI Fridays, East Windsor
  • TGI Fridays, Freehold
  • TGI Fridays, Hamilton
  • TGI Fridays, Hazlet
  • TGI Fridays, Linden
  • TGI Fridays, Marlboro
  • TGI Fridays, North Brunswick
  • TGI Fridays, Old Bridge
  • TGI Fridays, Piscataway
  • TGI Fridays, Springfield
  • TGI Fridays, West Orange
  • Villari's Lakeside, Gloucester Township
  • Yesterdays, Marmora
A TGI Fridays representative provided the following statement on Wednesday, reported by CBSNewYork:

TGI Fridays was just made aware of this issue and is working closely with the franchisee and owner of the cited locations to review and investigate these serious allegations. We have one of the most extensive bar and beverage programs in the industry, which sets a very high standard in the quality and service of our beverages.”

The Briad Group said it opened its first TGI Fridays in New Jersey in 1993.

The raid has brought outrage from many commenters online. One commenter on NJ.com identified as Steve_in_nj said: “They need to investigate TGIFridays, and surely suspend their liquor license. One assumes a place like that will be honest, and obviously there was a corporate decision to cheat their customers. Although, maybe the press will be enough. I for one will not darken the door of my Bridgewater TGI until this is cleared up, nor will our employees have a party there. Disgusting abuse of customers!!”

On the same website, a commenter identified as David Wainwright said: “Here's the simplest solution – revoke their liquor licenses. I have seen liquor licenses revoked for far more minor violations.”

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