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4/5

TGI Friday's

Bank Of Ceylon Mawatha, Colombo 1


It's always Friday in here.



TGI Friday's is a new franchise in Colombo 1. It's great location is sadly marred by mediocre food, profoundly incompetent service, and very high prices.

The new TGI Friday's is the talk of the town. On the night we went we saw former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and current President's son Rohitha Rajapaksa. Mrs. CBK was the wiser of the two, she looked around the entrance and left.

The beautiful, historic building The beautiful, historic building


TGI Friday's has a great location, it's funded by Cargills and it's a franchise, so everything should just work. Sadly it doesn't, at least not yet.

On the night we went our food was mediocre, the service was completely incompetent, and they made us wait almost half an hour to fix a messed up bill. And it was really, really expensive, Rs. 15,000 for four.

TGI Friday's may be having teething problems, but right now it's simply not worth the price at all.

The Service



They don't seem trained to use trays to carry more than one drink They don't seem trained to use trays to carry more than one drink


Normally we start a review with the food, but we have to start with the service, because it gets in the way. They had at least 20 staff and 2 American supervisors running around everywhere, but they were not well trained at all. They mainly seemed to be getting in each others way, and they were obviously stressed. A bit strange cause there were only about 30 diners at any given time.

Neither of the two waiters we had seemed to know the menu at all. Any time we asked a question they'd have to go back and ask, and the questions were simple, like 'what's the difference between Premium and Regular cocktails?' The answer they finally gave was that the Regular is 'not good quality', AKA local spirits. Perhaps this is true, but that's probably not the best way to put it.

When serving, they brought the appetizers and mains all together, leaving out one main. When it was time to leave we asked for a doggy bag (literally for the dogs, cause we couldn't eat some stuff) and they brought the box to the table and packed it there. These are basic functions, bringing and taking food, but they weren't trained for it at all.

Finally, at the end, we checked the bill and they'd charged us for Premium drinks, not the Regular we ordered. It was like a thousand Rupee difference so we asked for it to be fixed. First they told us it couldn't be fixed then a manager disappeared with the bill. For like 20 minutes. When I finally went over they handed me a bill for more than the original one, saying that they'd charged a burger wrong. At that point I just wanted to go home, but that (and the insanely high sodium content of the buffalo bites) left a bad taste in our mouths.

The Food



Back to the food. The food was simply not worth the price. The starters were good but the mains we basically nothing special. The burgers were actually some of the worst we've ever had. Not that they were repulsive, they just tasted of nothing. Janith said 'it tastes so empty'. The under-salted burgers are served with over-salted fries for Rs. 1,600. It's simply not worth it.

But let's start at the beginning. At the starters.

The Buffalo Bites The Buffalo Bites


We tried the Buffalo Bites (Rs. 750) and the Loaded Potato Skins (Rs. 750). They were both pretty good. The Buffalo Bites had a nice tang and their exceeding saltiness only emerged after you ate about seven. They gave a good amount. The Potato Skins were nice also, they came with dips, all fine. If you go for appetizers and beer I suppose they could manage that.

The Jack Daniels Burger The Jack Daniels Burger


We ordered two burgers, ribs and a steak. The burgers were, as mentioned, completely tasteless despite being too big to fit properly in ones mouth. It seemed like all air and fluff. We simply didn't finish. The dogs ate them - but then again they eat tissue. It seemed like the patties just weren't seasoned and the burger buns were that flat McDonalds quality. Really quite disappointing, and way overpriced at Rs. 1,250 for the cheesy bacon burger and Rs. 1,600 for the Jack Daniels.

Steak And Mushroom Mush At Fridays

The Jack Daniels Ribs (Rs. 2,500) were actually OK but nothing to write home about. The steak was not overly tough and palatable, but just not appetizing looking, with that mushroom mash. The mashed potatoes tasted like they'd been made from powder. For Rs. 2,750 for a very small one, again just not worth it. The ribs and steak weren't fails like the burgers, but neither did they deliver value for money.

The Drinks



The Mango Slush The Mango Slush


The non-alcoholic drinks were OK, the Mango Slush (Rs. 590) and Green Apple (also Rs. 590) were nice. They have a Strawberry Lemonade which pushes Rs. 900 but that wasn't available.

Lynchburg Lemonade Lynchburg Lemonade


The alcoholic drinks had a fair amount of alcohol and were nice if a bit blunt flavorwise. The Lynchburg Lemonade cost Rs. 700 with local spirits and the Whiskey Sour costs Rs. 350. The latter has quite a sour punch to it, not recommended for all.

They're missing a fair amount of stuff on the menu. We ordered a Caipirinha which wasn't available and they also didn't have the requisites for a Bloody Mary.

Dessert



New York Cheesecake At Fridays

The desserts we tried were OK. About half the menu was unavailable. We tried the New York Cheesecake (Rs. 950) which was baked and nice. It was basically out of the fridge but tasted fine. The Brownie Obsession (Rs. 650) was also fine.

The Location



The upstairs The upstairs


It's an amazing location, no doubt. We're inclined to say that it's a shame a somewhat soulless franchise like Friday's is here, but so what, they redeveloped this building, people come there, all good.

Light And WTC At Fridays

It's a beautiful building in an amazing location - next to the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct and across from the World Trade Center.

The seating is comfortable, there is a buzz to the place, it's a nice building. For Sri Lanka especially, where so many restaurants are haphazard and empty, this space is a welcome addition.

Conclusion



The excellent space, however, is like the burgers. Just tastes empty. The food is mediocre and the service experience is just so bad that we can't see ourselves going back for a long time. Paying a lot for quality is acceptable. Manhattan Fish Market is another (smaller) franchise which is also expensive, but there are a few reliable things on the menu and the quality of food and service is much higher. They seem to actually care.

With TGI Friday's they have the colors and the outfits but no attention to ingredients, preparation, delivery or even basic staff training. The waiters can't really speak English which is bad for a tourist draw, and they're not especially competent in Sinhala either. They are, however, nice people and we don't blame them. This isn't a case of lazy staff, they just don't seem trained at all. No one seemed to understand that appetizers come before mains or that takeaway isn't packed at the table. It seems like Cargills has spent a lot on the building and the franchise and completely skimped on the stuff that matters - service and food.

We were excited to hear about this restaurant opening, but we're sad to report that it simply doesn't live up to the hype and pricing, not yet. Can you go and have a good time with friends? Yes. It's a beautiful location and if you don't expect too much you won't be disappointed. If you're expecting an international quality franchise, however, this just isn't it.

TIP

Try the Jack Daniels Ribs if you have money to splurge and a hankering for good pork. Also, tell them its your birthday if you want a sing song and don't mind a bit of attention.
All Reviews

Easy, quick, international dining.

It's always Friday at TGI Friday's. Or so they proclaim.

After the first miserable experience at TGI Friday’s, we decided to give the restaurant another go. Given some time to train up and settle down, it’s actually doing pretty well.

We were excited to hear about this restaurant opening, but we're sad to report that it simply doesn't live up to the hype and pricing, not yet. Can you go and have a good time with friends? Yes. It's a beautiful location and if you don't expect too much you won't be disappointed. If you're expecting an international quality franchise, however, this just isn't it.

සිංහල මෙතන හැමදාම සිකුරාදාලු. කෑමත් ඒ වගේද? පොඩ්ඩක් බලමු.

සිංහල TGI ෆ්‍රයිඩේ’ස් කියන්නේ කොළඹ 1ට අලුතින් ආව ෆ්රැන්චයිස් එකක්. ඒක පිහිටලා තියෙන්නේ කදිම ඉඩක වුණත් සාමාන්‍ය මට්ටමේ කෑමයි, අදක්ෂ සේවාවයි, ඉහළ මිල ගනනුයි නිසා එතන ආකර්ෂණය අඩු වෙලයි තියෙන්නේ.

Address

Bank Of Ceylon Mawatha, Colombo 1

Directions

It's next to Dutch Hospital and across from the World Trade Center. Continue on Galle Road till it basically ends and head towards the largest buildings. You can also access from York Street via Slave Island. There's a parking lot round back.

Contacts

Facebook

Report Inaccuracy

Closed right now

Cuisine

Western American

Price Range

More than Rs.1500

Dish Types

Steak Chicken

Ratings Breakdown

Overall Rating
4
Quality Rating
4
Service Rating
4
Ambience Rating
4

Similar Places

User Reviews
N
2

5/5

0

Nirma1992

The food was awesome…The favorite meal of mine & my husband is Pork ribs with Jack Daniel Sauce…

N
1

1/5

0

NONYABIZ

I have eaten there ribs and steak and I was not impressed. It's like a hit or miss when it comes to taste. The first time was OK and the last two were terrible.

A
1

1/5

0

AnuJ

Worst customer service ever. Specially don’t go there on Friday. They will yell at you and ask u to sit where they want n they will cook the bill for half n hour and bring it with a 25% discount coupon 😂

N
2

5/5

0

Nirma1992

The food was awesome…The favorite meal of mine & my husband is Pork ribs with Jack Daniel Sauce…

N
1

1/5

0

NONYABIZ

I have eaten there ribs and steak and I was not impressed. It's like a hit or miss when it comes to taste. The first time was OK and the last two were terrible.

A
1

1/5

0

AnuJ

Worst customer service ever. Specially don’t go there on Friday. They will yell at you and ask u to sit where they want n they will cook the bill for half n hour and bring it with a 25% discount coupon 😂

B
2

1/5

0

bam_boo_sten

Quality of food has bottomed out, rubbery burger, limp salads, and overall zero taste. With international chains you expect there to be at least some sort of standard to abide by but clearly that is not the case here. Don't bother.

R
1

2/5

0

Rishi Ratnayake

Went for lunch at TGIF on April 7th. The service was ok and the food was fine, however the Calomeri salad looked like it was made up of last week's lettuce !! Had to use the handicapped washroom since upstairs was closed for some reason. These short comings might have all been excused as a bad day if not for the fact they point blank refused to serve me normal water !! They only serve bottle water. I'm sure the consumer authority will be interested to know this fact. Best of luck !!

B
6

4/5

0

BaileyDar

Food is expensive but yummy. Even the vege burgers. Staff is friendly and we got free drinks. Their brownies are amazing.

S
1

1/5

0

Savithu

I have tried to go there several times last year, No seating space available all the time I went, and they just turn down the customer without even considering providing space upstairs (they have an upstairs which was empty)

C
1

1/5

0

chathu42

Service wasn't the best. We ordered a salad and in a split second requested a change and the guy there made a huge fuss. Customer flexibility was nil.

M
1

5/5

0

MsB\'merry

I'm fed up with the negativity of some of these reviews. I'll tell you truthfully….we go regularly to TGIFriday's. We love going to the quiz on Tuesday nights, very clever people in the teams, professors, lecturers, barristers, Doctors of medicine as well as PhD etc., and it's nice that more teams are coming along and joining in. The prizes are generous with a voucher for 10,000/- as 1st prize and 5,000/- 2nd place with 2,500/- for 3rd; you can use it on your next visit.
The drinks are very good value, as nobody has previously mentioned that they have a Happy 'Hour' which runs from 5.00pm until 9.00pm - buy one, get one free, that's very generous! The staff are all very pleasant and helpful, even after they had a setback where most of their early trained staff left to newly opened hotels and bars in Colombo, but that's the nature of the beast in the hospitality trade, it's very hard to keep good staff as they like to 'jump'.
The food is of excellent quality, with the meats all brought in from abroad so naturally you expect to pay more. I particularly think the 'Bites' menu is very good value. The '3 for all' is great to share with mates over a few drinks as well as the sesame coated chicken strips with JD sauce.
The quiz master, Ashan, has some amazing plans up his sleeve for making TGIF The place to go to for fun in the forth-coming months. During the World Cup they had superb offers and it all helped to make it worth going there. The manager is very helpful and keen to see his guests enjoying themselves.
You must remember, the Old Dutch hospital area has really been created as a 'tourist feature' and you will always find the eateries and bars in these kind of places will always be a bit more expensive than your khotu stalls and arrack bars. You pay for the ambience and style. it will be the same with the new Arcade at Independence Square and the restaurants.
Have no doubt that I have frequented TGIF's in the UK, USA, Beijing, Cairo, S'pore & KL on a regular basis and will have no problem bringing visiting guests to enjoy what is on offer at TGIF's Colombo! My words are…'Keep going, you're doing fine'!

T
1

1/5

0

Thiliniek

We ordered for prawns which was quiet expensive. Only what i got was few pieces of prawns and plate full of french fries. why would i want to pay so much for some french fries? the prices are ridiculous with the taxes and other charges…

O
1

4/5

0

oshan_6

went there on the 2nd of Feb. the food was great and so was service. will visit again.
we ordered JD chicken, JD ribs and carrot & orange juice.

D
1

1/5

0

davyc911

I like how this segued slightly to hack Cargills customer service. Their staff, esp. Managers, need more training.

D
1

5/5

0

dimitri

YAMU…i used to actually enjoy your reviews and look forward to hearing about new places…but you guys are quite the schizophrenics: Parttime HIPSTERS, Parttime GODAYAS!
lol…make up your mind boys.
-
Having lived in California for over 8 year and gone to TGIF many times i can honestly say the local branch is good!!! Of course there is room for improvement, the wings were below average, but the steaks and the ribs were great!!! The service was better than most restaurants in lanka!!!
-
i want to thank MICHELLE and another poster for attaching the AUS & UK menus with prices! Grow up YAMU……time to realize that not all things expensive and popular is overrated.

See 77 Comments