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TGI Fridays to Pay $500,000 for Passing Off Cheap Booze as Top-Shelf

TGI Fridays to Pay $500,000 for Passing Off Cheap Booze as Top-Shelf


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Several TGIFs were raided in New Jersey, to discover that they've been refilling premium alcohol bottles with bottom-shelf booze

Faiz Zaki / Shutterstock.com

Several TGI Fridays were accused of selling cheap alcohol as high-end bottles.

After several New Jersey TGI Fridays were busted for passing off cheap alcohol as high-end brands, the owner Briad Group has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine without contesting the charges, AP reports.

Only eight TGI Fridays were named in the attorney general charges, although 29 establishments, including 13 TGI Fridays, were acccused of the booze swap after state raids back in May. The raids uncovered alcohol atrocities such as filling bottles with dirty water and passing it off as alcohol, or coloring rubbing alcohol with caramel coloring to be sold as scotch.

The agreement stipends that The Briad Group will pay $500,000 ($400,000 for the violations, $100,000 to cover investigative costs), as well as employ a state-appointment monitor for the next year (until June 14) to make sure the restaurants comply with the regulations. And while that's a hefty amount of money, Briad Group is handling the PR well, saying in statement that the company "is pleased that a negotiated settlement has been reached with the State of New Jersey and we look forward to putting this matter behind us... In addition to the settlement, we have also made operational adjustments, initiated new training programs and redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of our restaurants adhere to Fridays’ extensive bar and beverage standards."

Other cases against the Briad Group are still under investigation, including a separate lawsuit from two women who claim that Briad had actually instituted a policy to substitute cheaper alcohol for premium brands, violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.


TGI Fridays Fined $500K for Switching Booze

TRENTON, N.J. &mdash An operator of TGI Fridays restaurants in New Jersey has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine for serving customers cheap booze when they paid for top shelf.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Wednesday that the fine levied against Livingston-based Briad Group, as a result of an investigation dubbed Operation Swill, should send a message to every bar and restaurant in the state that customers should always get what they pay for.

Under terms of the settlement, Briad agreed not to contest charges that eight of its restaurants were selling customers cheap substitutes in place of premium alcohol. It also agreed to employ a state-appointed monitor through June 14 to ensure its restaurants and employees are in compliance.

As long as there are no further violations during that period, the businesses will avoid five-day suspensions of their liquor licenses, the attorney general said.

The fine includes $400,000 for the violations and $100,000 to cover investigative costs.

The Briad Group issued a statement saying it had cooperated fully in the investigation, initiated new training programs and “redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of our restaurants adhere to Fridays’ extensive bar and beverage standards.”

The franchisee also faces a lawsuit in state court by two women who claim Briad had instituted a uniform policy to substitute cut-rate liquor for premium brands for over at least a year, in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. It seeks reimbursement for all customer losses and punitive damages of three times the price of each drink.

Twenty-nine establishments, including 13 TGI Fridays, had been accused of cheating customers following state raids in May. The attorney general’s office said the state decided to pursue charges against only eight of the TGI Fridays. The other cases remain under investigation.

At one of the 29 businesses, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water that was not even clean. The state never identified which restaurants or bars those were.

The establishments were chosen for enforcement action as a result of information from confidential informants, consumer complaints and samples taken by undercover investigators earlier in the year, state officials said.

The eight TGI Fridays included in the settlement are in West Orange, East Windsor, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Freehold, Marlboro, Hazlet and Linden.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


TGI Fridays Franchisee Fined $500K for Cheap Booze

The nation's largest TGI Fridays franchisee has been fined $500,000 for serving customers cheap booze when they'd ordered the good stuff.

The Briad Group, which runs 70 TGI Fridays nationwide, agreed to pay the fine after an investigation revealed that eight of its New Jersey restaurants were serving customers lower-quality liquor when they'd ordered premium-quality alcohol, reports The Associated Press.

How did these franchise restaurants allegedly get away with it?

Allegedly Defrauding Customers

In New Jersey, 13 TGI Fridays were raided as part of an investigation called "Operation Swill," which investigated claims that restaurants were serving customers something other than premium liquor when they ordered it, reports the AP.

In restaurants where this liquor-switching was allegedly commonplace, the employees and the managers could be found guilty of fraud. The crime occurs when a person knowingly misrepresents a material fact to a victim, who then suffers some sort of injury or loss because of that misrepresentation.

A server who knowingly lies about serving a customer premium liquor, and then pockets the extra cash, could be charged with theft by deception as well.

Not only is lying about the kind of liquor you're serving considered fraud, but in New Jersey, businesses can be charged under the Consumer Fraud Act. The Act makes it unlawful to deceive or misrepresent merchandise to a customer.

Class Action Suit

Customers who feel cheated have already filed a class action lawsuit against the Briad Group, alleging the group instituted a multi-restaurant policy of substituting cheap liquor to increase profits, reports The Star-Ledger.

A class action lawsuit often benefits the participants by allowing litigation to go forward without each plaintiff needing to be directly involved in the case, thus cutting down on legal fees and general hassle to the average working adult.

The suit filed against the Garden State TGI Fridays seeks "refunds for customers" plus "three times" the price of each fraudulent drink in punitive damages, reports The Star-Ledger.


TGI Fridays restaurant fined $500K for switching booze

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — An operator of TGI Fridays restaurants in New Jersey raided as part of Operation Swill has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine for serving customers cheap booze when they paid for top shelf.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Wednesday that the fine levied against Livingston-based Briad Group should send a message to every bar and restaurant in the state that customers should always get what they pay for.

Twenty-nine establishments were raided as part of the operation.

The eight TGI Fridays included in the settlement are in West Orange, East Windsor, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Freehold, Marlboro, Hazlet and Linden.

Under terms of the settlement, Briad will employ a state-appointed monitor through June 14 to ensure the restaurants and employees are in compliance.


TGI Fridays in N.J. fined for swapping fine liquor for cheap booze

Eight TGI Fridays restaurants in New Jersey will pay a $500,000 total fine to the state and will not contest charges that they served bottom-shelf drinks to customers who had ordered premium alcohol.

The establishments, run by hospitality franchise company Briad Group, will shell out $400,000 for the violations and $100,000 to cover the investigative costs associated with the state’s “Operation Swill” sting.

The state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control raided 29 eateries in May and seized 1,000 bottles, according to a statement Wednesday from New Jersey’s Acting Atty. Gen. John Hoffman.

Among the restaurants suspected of pulling the boozy bait-and-switch: a Ruby Tuesday, an Applebee’s and 13 TGI Fridays.

Officials said in May that they had encountered bottles filled with dirty water and also a mixture of rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring.

The eight TGI Fridays included in Wednesday’s deal agreed to employ a state-appointed monitor through June 2014.

[Updated, July 31, 1:35 p.m.: In a statement, the Briad group said it was pleased that the settlement was reached.

“In addition to the settlement, we have also made operational adjustments, initiated new training programs and redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of our restaurants adhere to Fridays’ extensive bar and beverage standards,” the company said. “We believe these actions will result in even higher customer satisfaction and a strengthened level of trust.”]


Operation Swill-targeted TGI Friday's owner agrees to pay $500,000

Funnels confiscated during the Operation Swill investigation, in which 29 bars and restaurants in New Jersey are accused of putting cheap booze in premium brand liquor bottles and selling it, are displayed during a news conference May 23 in Trenton, N.J.

An operator of TGI Friday's restaurants in New Jersey

has agreed to pay $500,000 for serving customers cheap booze when they paid for top shelf.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said today that the fine levied against The Briad Group, based in Livingston, N.J., should send a message to every bar and restaurant in the state that customers should always get what they pay for.

“Briad’s restaurants were scamming customers by serving them a cheap substitute for what they ordered,” Hoffman said in a statement. “This unlawful practice took advantage of consumers who were cheated out of what they thought they were purchasing.

"This fine should send a clear message to every bar and restaurant throughout New Jersey that customers should get what they pay for every time without exception.”

Authorities raided 29 establishments as part of the yearlong investigation, dubbed Operation Swill, including eight TGI Fridays: in West Orange, East Windsor, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Freehold, Marlboro, Hazlet and Linden.

As part of the payment, which includes a $400,000 fine to the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and $100,000 for investigative costs, The Briad Group agrees not to contest charges against it, according to the Attorney General's Office.

The Briad Group issued a statement today saying it "is pleased that a negotiated settlement has been reached with the state of New Jersey and we look forward to putting this matter behind us. Throughout the investigative process, we fully cooperated with the New Jersey ABC. We will continue to cooperate with New Jersey ABC moving forward."

Under terms of the settlement, Briad will employ a state-appointed monitor through June 2014 to ensure the restaurants and employees are in compliance, the attorney general's office said. A five-day suspension for each establishment is on hold and will be dismissed if there are no further drink-substituting charges.

"In addition to the settlement, we have also made operational adjustments, initiated new training programs and redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of our restaurants adhere to Fridays’ extensive bar and beverage standards," The Briad Group statement continued. "We believe these actions will result in even higher customer satisfaction and a strengthened level of trust. We are committed to our ongoing mission to ensure that our customers are so pleased with their experience in our restaurants that they will come back again and again."

The investigation remains ongoing with respect to the 21 other establishments targeted. The only one in


TGI Fridays in NJ fined $500K for switching booze

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- An operator of TGI Fridays restaurants in New Jersey has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine for serving customers cheap booze when they paid for top shelf.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Wednesday that the fine levied against Livingston-based Briad Group, as a result of an investigation dubbed Operation Swill, should send a message to every bar and restaurant in the state that customers should always get what they pay for.

Under terms of the settlement, Briad agreed not to contest charges that eight of its restaurants were selling customers cheap substitutes in place of premium alcohol. It also agreed to employ a state-appointed monitor through June 14 to ensure its restaurants and employees are in compliance.

As long as there are no further violations during that period, the businesses will avoid five-day suspensions of their liquor licenses, the attorney general said.

The fine includes $400,000 for the violations and $100,000 to cover investigative costs.

The Briad Group issued a statement saying it had cooperated fully in the investigation, initiated new training programs and "redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of our restaurants adhere to Fridays' extensive bar and beverage standards."

The franchisee also faces a lawsuit in state court by two women who claim Briad had instituted a uniform policy to substitute cut-rate liquor for premium brands for over at least a year, in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. It seeks reimbursement for all customer losses and punitive damages of three times the price of each drink.

Twenty-nine establishments, including 13 TGI Fridays, had been accused of cheating customers following state raids in May. The attorney general's office said the state decided to pursue charges against only eight of the TGI Fridays. The other cases remain under investigation.

At one of the 29 businesses, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water that was not even clean. The state never identified which restaurants or bars those were.

The establishments were chosen for enforcement action as a result of information from confidential informants, consumer complaints and samples taken by undercover investigators earlier in the year, state officials said.

The eight TGI Fridays included in the settlement are in West Orange, East Windsor, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Freehold, Marlboro, Hazlet and Linden.

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(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for the New Economy Daily newsletter, follow us @economics and subscribe to our podcast.One of Africa’s largest sovereign wealth funds rode the wave of U.S. technology stocks to a banner 2020. Now, it’s betting Europe will play catch-up.The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, fresh off a 51% surge in assets that took the fund above $2 billion, is boosting its exposure to European stocks and will add some Japanese equities, Chief Executive Officer Uche Orji said in an interview. The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alumnus sees opportunity as Europe begins to open up from Covid lockdowns.“Last year, Europe underperformed America big time” as investors moved funds to technology companies profiting from the shift to online services at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Orji said. As the global economy reopens, countries with broader industrial bases and services such as Europe “will become more interesting,” he said.The Euro Stoxx 50 equity benchmark has climbed almost 11% this year, buoyed by expectations of a rapid recovery as vaccinations against the coronavirus progress while fiscal and monetary policies across the region remain loose. It’s outperformed both the S&P 500 Index and MSCI All Countries World Index, which have risen 9.6% and 7.5% respectively in the year-to-date.Expanding FootprintThe NSIA has $2.1 billion of assets under management. About a third of that amount is held by its Future Generations Fund, which buys equities in developed and emerging markets. The authority had 25% of the FGF invested in stocks last year, with the “bulk” in the U.S., while European stocks accounted for less than 4%, Orji said.“We are just going to add more capital to expand our footprints in Europe and Japan, but Europe in particular is an area where we have not had a big presence,” he said.Orji, 51, has more than two decades of experience in international banking, with an MBA from Harvard Business School. Prior to his appointment as CEO of the NSIA in 2012, he’s had stints at Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS Securities.The NSIA reported a four-fold increase in profit last year to 160 billion naira ($390 million). Returns this year will likely trail 2020 as a rally in global equities eases up and as it invests in infrastructure projects that can take longer to generate income, Orji said.The authority plans to establish a $200 million fund that builds health-care facilities to treat diseases including cancer and orthopedics. Africa’s most populous country has for decades lacked adequate investment in health care, prompting citizens including President Muhammadu Buhari to seek treatment abroad.The NSIA plans to finance the health-care projects with co-investors, Orji said, without providing more details.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Gold Weekly Price Forecast – Gold Markets Break Down Trendline

Gold markets have rallied quite nicely during the trading week, breaking above the downtrend line that I have drawn on the chart and even approached the $1800 level.


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TGI Friday's Fined For 'Switching Booze'

Restaurants in New Jersey are accused of misleading drinkers by selling customers cheap substitutes in place of premium alcohol.

Thursday 1 August 2013 13:02, UK

The operator of TGI Friday's restaurants in New Jersey has agreed to pay a $500,000 (£330,000) fine for serving customers cheap alcohol when they paid for top shelf drinks.

The fine was levied against the restaurants after a year-long investigation dubbed Operation Swill.

Under terms of the settlement, Briad Group, which operates the restaurants, agreed not to contest charges.

The group also agreed to employ a state-appointed monitor until June 2014 to ensure its restaurants and employees are in compliance.

As long as there are no further violations during that period, the businesses will avoid five-day suspensions of their liquor licences.

The Briad Group issued a statement saying it had cooperated fully in the investigation and initiated new training programmes.

It said it "redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of our restaurants adhere to (our) extensive bar and beverage standards".

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In total, 29 establishments, including 13 TGI Friday's outlets, were accused of cheating customers following state raids in May.

The state decided to pursue charges against only eight of the TGI Friday's restaurants, while other cases remain under investigation.

In one case, a mixture of alcohol and caramel colouring was sold as scotch, while in an another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water.

The state never identified which restaurants or bars the cases involved.

The investigation began because of information from confidential informants and consumer complaints.

Officials sent undercover investigators to take samples.

The eight TGI Friday's restaurants included in the settlement are in West Orange, East Windsor, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Freehold, Marlboro, Hazlet and Linden.


Watch the video: Rare Whiskey Friday - Canadian + Rye (May 2022).