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N.J. raids 29 restaurants in liquor scam probe

ebchower May 22, 2013 12:05 PM


•Railroad Café, East Rutherford
•The Brick House, Wyckoff
•Sunset Tavern, Burlington
•Graziano’s Ristorante, Chesilhurst
•Villari’s Lakeside, Gloucester Township
•Yesterday’s, Marmora
•TGI Fridays, West Orange
•Italian Affair, Glassboro
•Bell’s Tavern, Lambertville
•TGI Fridays, East Windsor
•Brunswick Grove, East Brunswick
•TGI Fridays, Old Bridge
•TGI Fridays, North Brunswick
•TGI Fridays, Piscataway
•TGI Fridays, Freehold
•TGI Fridays, Marlboro
•TGI Fridays, Hazlet
•Murray’s, Dover
•TGI Fridays, East Hanover
•Sona Thirteen, Morristown
•Blackthorn Restaurant, Parsippany
•Ruby Tuesday, Bridgewater
•TGI Fridays, Linden
•Café 34, Matawan
•Applebee’s, Kearny
•Cucina Calandara, Fairfield
•TGI Fridays, Wood-Ridge
•TGI Fridays, Springfield
•TGI Fridays, Clifton

  1. j
    jracpa Dec 12, 2013 12:22 AM

    There has not been much of an update in the news regarding the resolution or settlement of the initial charges. I know that I read that TGI Fridays collectively settled in some manner, but have not heard much about the others. I am particularly interested in Brunswick Grove, since I used to like the food there, but will not visit until I learn of the resolution. I checked with the state, and spoke to the guy who lead the overall investigation. He just said that it is ongoing and because of that, he could not comment.

    Out of fairness to the public and to the establishments, it seems that the initial front page headline should be followed up by the media. My sporadic observation re the Grove is that their business is down, which would be unfair to them if the state drops the charges.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jracpa
      ELA Dec 12, 2013 12:48 AM

      I hate, and refuse to stereotype, but many times this is the case. It's the initial BANG!!! Followed by some buzz, and then there is little to nothing. I don't know the detaiils and specifics except that I know one of the owners on the list -- and since they day they walked in, according to him, he's heard nothing...and he didn't expect to.

      I don't know if there are actually "charges" pending or this was a "sting" and/or investigation that could lead to charges, fines, etc. if they found something -- but, regardless, the media can create panic, fear, raised eyebrows, the gasp, and more...but then what?

      You are right, there has not been much in the way of updates at all. Yes, the TGI Fridays group settled, and that's about all I've read.

      1. re: ELA
        fourunder Dec 12, 2013 04:46 AM

        I seem to recall the the Railroad Cafe was fined $2000 in lieu of being suspended for a short period of time.

        1. re: fourunder
          ELA Dec 12, 2013 05:22 AM

          I am sure there was a fine here and there, or a settlement of some sort...or nothing at all in some cases. I just find that after the initial huge splash...there is sometimes very little afterward.

    2. r
      Rigmaster Aug 1, 2013 05:46 AM

      Some of the things done to "scam" were downright dangerous. Rubbing alcohol dyed with food coloring???

      How about instead of penalties simply taking the extreme abusers licenses away or suspending them for 6-12 months?

      Simple enough to just avoid them as a consumer. That said, it's not a right to be able to sell alcohol so why continue to give the flexibility.

      Oh that's right, this was as much about not doing anything than doing anything. Wonder how many times these places passed inspections and other reviews before actually getting caught?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Rigmaster
        drongo Aug 1, 2013 08:47 AM

        I can't imagine anyone actually served rubbing alcohol with dye -- perhaps they made up some fake bottles like that to fill out the shelves behind the bar.

        1. re: drongo
          BanjoMan1 Aug 1, 2013 09:32 AM

          Most places that do that use tea

          1. re: BanjoMan1
            INDIANRIVERFL Aug 1, 2013 10:54 AM

            Mr. Roberts taught me that a few drops of iodine put the perfect taste into fake scotch.

      2. e
        ebchower Jul 31, 2013 03:05 AM

        TGI Friday's has agreed to pay a half million.


        Maybe they will use fake food to offset the costs.

        12 Replies
        1. re: ebchower
          fourunder Jul 31, 2013 03:10 AM

          The only problem with the settlement is that the consumers who were duped do not receive any compensation.....the state stuffs the money in their pockets only. The state should have made the group refund customers, e.g., return money to customers who paid with credit cards back into their accounts.

          1. re: fourunder
            jrvedivici Jul 31, 2013 03:13 AM

            What about the folks who paid with cash?

            1. re: jrvedivici
              fourunder Jul 31, 2013 03:14 AM

              Shit out of luck....

              1. re: fourunder
                jrvedivici Jul 31, 2013 03:19 AM

                Title of my biography

              2. re: jrvedivici
                fourunder Jul 31, 2013 03:19 AM

                I can recall back in the 90's, a young couple I met while I was in the Flea Market business. Across from my Concession Stand was a kid who had a girlfriend who worked at Sears in the Automotive Department.as an Assistant Manager. Sears had gotten hit with a large fine and they had to return the amount back to customers, which they did randomly with checks if a customer came in and filed the necessary paperwork. The amounts were for something like $250 or 450 checks. The GF used to file bogus names for the BF and they received numerous checks from Sears all summer long until the fund was depleted.

              3. re: fourunder
                Veggo Jul 31, 2013 03:25 AM

                The cost to fairly distribute that settlement probably would have exceeded the settlement amount.

                1. re: Veggo
                  fourunder Jul 31, 2013 03:31 AM

                  It's usually not about being fair.....just that they have to disperse it.

                  When it comes to the NJ Division of ABC....any owner of a liquor license will tell you they are not fair.

                  1. re: fourunder
                    Veggo Jul 31, 2013 03:36 AM

                    Securities companies pay hundreds of millions in fines. Aggrieved customers rarely get a cent. Goldman Sachs' daily objective is to earn $100,000,000 every business day, and it does 200 times a year. They laugh at fines.

                    1. re: Veggo
                      fourunder Jul 31, 2013 04:37 AM

                      true, true...very true. just think about all the infringements in the the electronics/gadgets industry and the golf industry. The judgements are insignificant.

                    2. re: fourunder
                      jrvedivici Jul 31, 2013 06:34 AM

                      True dat my friend! as close to dealing with the gestapo as you can get. Well them and another 3 initial agency.

                  2. re: fourunder
                    jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 12:25 AM

                    My wife reports she saw on the news this morning that Friday's will be offering some drink "specials" which include free drinks in conjunction with their settlement? Any truth to this gentlemen/women? I actually thought it was illegal for any restaurant to offer promotions which included "free" booze?

                    1. re: jrvedivici
                      eleeper Aug 1, 2013 01:11 AM

                      If they cannot offer free booze, they can probably offer "penny drinks", which is pretty much the same thing.

                2. g
                  Grannycat Jun 21, 2013 01:49 PM

                  It wasnt the Brick House that was raided! It was the Brownstone!!!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Grannycat
                    jrvedivici Jun 22, 2013 12:00 AM

                    Of NJ Housewives fame? (I also know of one in Metuchen, don't know if the location is accurate)

                    1. re: jrvedivici
                      Grannycat Jun 22, 2013 01:08 AM

                      Honestly, I have never watched that awful show. I grew up in Wyckoff and Franklin Lakes and don't want to see those arriviste classless creatures.

                      1. re: jrvedivici
                        Grannycat Jun 22, 2013 01:10 AM

                        But yes, the Brownstone in Wyckoff, not the Brick House Inn. The author of this story needs to make a correction ASAP.

                        1. re: Grannycat
                          fourunder Jun 22, 2013 02:07 AM

                          I think you are mistaken.....the owner acknowledged the raid happened.


                          1. re: fourunder
                            ELA Jun 23, 2013 10:36 AM

                            The Brownstone Inn, in Wycoff, is closed. Has been for quite some time now. The place that was raided is the Brick House, also located in Wycoff. Aldo Cascio is the owner of the Brick House and has commented on the incident numerous times.

                    2. diablo May 25, 2013 08:08 AM

                      I knew I hated TGIF for a reason.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: diablo
                        The Professor May 28, 2013 04:39 AM

                        The lousy food and the 13oz "pints" of beer were reason enough for me. The currently exposed scam really came as no surprise to me.

                      2. Bacchus101 May 24, 2013 05:34 AM

                        It does not surprise me that some would engage in this fraud. I have often thought when calling a drink from a dinner table : who know what they pour. When drinking what one is familiar with and/or something not overly mixed it may be easier for some to know. But with many drinks and many people it is an unsure guess at best as to what the booze may be. This action does not involve changing bottles just pouring low price booze and charging for higher. Watching a pour and still not knowing for sure is vexing. I believe I would know the good brands I drink; but to challenge it is another thing.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bacchus101
                          fourunder May 24, 2013 05:38 AM

                          I would bet most of the infractions include or focus vodka sales.....

                        2. t
                          TomDel May 24, 2013 05:24 AM

                          I think they changed the law but I guess it wasn't overkill in Myrtle Beach years ago when all liquor had to be served and poured from individual 2 oz. miniature bottles like the ones used on airlines. They had the same law in Germany. I was there on business in the mid 80's and if you wanted a martini you had to order 2 nips of gin and 1 of vermouth and mix them yourself.

                          1. JustJake May 24, 2013 02:07 AM


                            1. The Professor May 23, 2013 01:54 PM

                              I hope these joints lose their liquor licenses ...permanently. Especially the places where they found rubbing alcers in the bottles...just too sick.

                              If the state revokes and auctions off their license, even better. They shouldn't be able to profit from the sale of the licenses...they're in high demand in some municipalities.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: The Professor
                                JustJake May 24, 2013 02:12 AM

                                l'm with you perfessor.

                                1. re: The Professor
                                  eatinman May 26, 2013 07:00 AM

                                  I feel that the only way to stop the problem - forever

                                  Is to fine them heavily

                                  Take their license away - sell it to the highest bidder and keep the cash for the state or a charity

                                  any establishment that is even remotely thinking that they'll fool around with the liquor after that - WON'T!

                                  1. re: eatinman
                                    JustJake May 26, 2013 07:10 AM

                                    That would definitely make a statement and really make a lot of these skeeno artists think twice before they contemplate even making that skummer move.

                                2. j
                                  Jerzeegirl May 23, 2013 06:33 AM

                                  I'm so happy the TGIF in East Windsor got nailed. We went there one night after Hurricane Sandy because we were staying at a hotel in that area & wanted to watch the concert for NJ. The bartender told us he wouldn't put it on because there's a NJ state law that says ONLY sports or news can be shown on a tv in a bar or restaurant. The manager finally begrudgingly told him to do it but by then the concert was 1/2 over. Guess they didn't want to be interrupted pouring the cheap stuff into the good bottles.

                                  1. s
                                    shoeman May 23, 2013 06:12 AM

                                    Villari's Lakeside was one of those restaurants featured in Restaurants Impossible? ( the show with the bald guy who saves troubled rests).

                                    I guess business hasn't picked up?

                                    1. e
                                      ebchower May 23, 2013 05:56 AM

                                      Here is the latest press release. Not much new, but they list the particular premium booze that they confiscated.


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ebchower
                                        RedTop May 23, 2013 06:34 AM

                                        Thanks for the link, chowser.

                                      2. angelo04 May 23, 2013 01:51 AM

                                        This is an awfully slippery slope. What about the owners and managers who were raided that were not guilty of these allegations? Are they compensated for the disruption to their business? How do you quantify the damage to their reputation from this story? Surely people will read this story and be suspicious of these establishments but will there be a story that clears the name of the owners who did not partake in this pratice? I am all for getting the bad guy just not at the expense of the good guy.

                                        1. Veggo May 23, 2013 01:35 AM

                                          13 of the 29 are TGI Fridays? Maybe TGIF should stand for The Gin Is Fake.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Veggo
                                            The Professor May 23, 2013 04:54 AM

                                            LOL. I like that. May I use that line?

                                            Too funny...

                                          2. r
                                            RedTop May 22, 2013 10:29 AM

                                            God Bless our governments, large and small! NOT.

                                            38 Replies
                                            1. re: RedTop
                                              The Professor May 22, 2013 11:04 AM

                                              ...huh??? Are you saying that the state liquor authority has done a bad thing here by calling out the scammers???? If so, you have it backwards.

                                              If I've misunderstood you, then sorry...never mind. :-)

                                              The food at TGIF is certainly not any bargain... I'm not very surprised that they're pulling a cheat on the booze.

                                              1. re: The Professor
                                                MGZ May 23, 2013 12:25 AM

                                                Yeah, I didn't really get that either. I mean, isn't the fundamental, agreed upon, purpose of all governments to help benefit and protect the people? Perhaps, we should just abandon all law enforcement? Maybe, just simply arm everyone so that when I think the bartender serves me Cuervo when I ask for Herradura, I simply shoot him in the foot?

                                                I'm just glad I now have another reason not to go to a TGIF. (As if I needed another . . . .)

                                              2. re: RedTop
                                                RedTop May 23, 2013 01:32 AM

                                                I guess I would expect anyone ordering a top shelf spirit in any restaurant, be able to tell the difference in taste between their called drink; and something delivered from a rail liquor.

                                                If I can't tell the difference between Woodford Reserve and Evan Williams, or, A Bombay Gin Martini v. a Heaven Hill Gin Martini, I don't belong out in public.

                                                1. re: RedTop
                                                  MGZ May 23, 2013 01:49 AM

                                                  I'm with you. I can more often than not immediately taste the difference. I'm just curious though, how do you deal with the bein' ripped off part? Alert the authorities? Say, "Fuck 'em" to those who might not notice? Beat the shit outta the bartender?

                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                    RedTop May 23, 2013 03:49 AM

                                                    Vote with your wallet. The old saw that goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

                                                    1. re: RedTop
                                                      MGZ May 23, 2013 03:55 AM

                                                      Don't you think that we have some responsibility to help others who may be more ignorant or less refined? I can be a real elitest bastard sometimes, but if someplace is screwing customers, shouldn't I say something? I can't torch the place, but maybe I could at least say sometin' on this Site, no? Maybe help someone out? Maybe call attention to the problem?

                                                      I'm comin' at this as someone who's pretty existentialist and libertarian, but I can't run my business and also look out for people speeding through red lights.

                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                        RedTop May 23, 2013 04:36 AM

                                                        Doesn't word of mouth effectively elevate? Or, crush?

                                                        1. re: RedTop
                                                          MGZ May 23, 2013 04:43 AM

                                                          Well, you can tell your neighbor that you saw the the guy across the street draggin' a little boy into his house, but I'm thinkin' it's better to call the cops.

                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                            RedTop May 23, 2013 05:35 AM

                                                            I think comparing retail fraud with kidnapping is a bit of a stretch. Just sayin...

                                                            1. re: RedTop
                                                              MGZ May 23, 2013 06:00 AM

                                                              Law enforcement is law enforcement. I mean, a crime's a crime, no? Government agencies exist to enforce the laws that we have agreed to accept as a society. Is the FBI investigating a bombing that much different than the EPA investigating a power plant dumping waste into a river?

                                                              Call it a stretch is you want. Fine. It was an example, but, at bottom, are you really suggestin' that retail fraud doesn't hurt the public?

                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                RedTop May 23, 2013 06:29 AM

                                                                >>Call it a stretch is you want. Fine. It was an example, but, at bottom, are you really suggestin' that retail fraud doesn't hurt the public?<<

                                                                No. I'm not suggesting that at all. I'm sure that fraud and theft committed against retailers in the US amounts to billions of dollars in loss each year. Thats only one of the reasons why our society is overburdened with laws and lawyers.

                                                                But the example originally cited here, and in various other news reports I've read today, implies that a governmental entity is protecting a consumer base that is too stoopid to realize they are being bilked. I choose not to believe that. I think the market place can better, and more effectively police this type of "crime" than throwing it in the lap of government authority.

                                                                1. re: RedTop
                                                                  MGZ May 23, 2013 06:42 AM

                                                                  Well, my friend, though I may completely disagree with you, I respect your opinions.

                                                                  1. re: RedTop
                                                                    MGZ May 23, 2013 09:08 AM

                                                                    RedTop, as I noted, I respect your thoughts and opinions. The dialectic process is what makes the Site exciting. Nonetheless, I, finally, gotta ask, what's you tis to Jersey?

                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                      MGZ May 24, 2013 12:47 AM

                                                                      That shoulda been "what's your tie to Jersey". Damn tequila . . . .

                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                        Veggo May 24, 2013 01:10 AM

                                                                        That's what happens when you tie one on.

                                                                      2. re: MGZ
                                                                        RedTop May 24, 2013 01:18 AM

                                                                        Respect to you from here.

                                                                        No Jersey tie whatsoever.

                                                                  2. re: RedTop
                                                                    equal_Mark May 23, 2013 08:44 AM

                                                                    Was reported this afternoon that one establishment had mixed rubbing alcohol with caramel food coloring and served it as scotch. I would certainly equate poisoning with kidnapping...

                                                                    1. re: equal_Mark
                                                                      MGZ May 23, 2013 08:55 AM


                                                                      1. re: equal_Mark
                                                                        drongo May 23, 2013 09:51 AM

                                                                        Yes, indeed. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nj...

                                                                        "At one bar, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water — and apparently not even clean water at that."

                                                                        "Operation Swill" they call it ... heh.

                                                                        1. re: drongo
                                                                          Veggo May 23, 2013 09:55 AM

                                                                          All 13 TGIF's are the same ownership? This one is starting to look, walk, and quack like a duck.

                                                                          1. re: Veggo
                                                                            MarlboroMan May 24, 2013 02:06 AM


                                                                            This news is so big its made its way to the UK!

                                                                            1. re: MarlboroMan
                                                                              ebchower May 24, 2013 02:15 AM

                                                                              Those bloody yanks drink piss beer anyway!

                                                                              1. re: MarlboroMan
                                                                                equal_Mark May 24, 2013 05:01 AM

                                                                                The report of rubbing alcohol being served seems to have mutated from it being ascribed to one establishment in the original press release to include all of the bars involved according to the Daily Mail. I would have expected a couple dozen libel lawsuits if this rag had been published in the US...

                                                                          2. re: equal_Mark
                                                                            RedTop May 24, 2013 01:24 AM

                                                                            I think I'd question the veracity of that report and not take it at face value.

                                                                            1. re: RedTop
                                                                              ebchower May 24, 2013 02:06 AM

                                                                              The report of rubbing alcohol came straight from the Attorney General's press conference. They stopped short of saying which bar did it.

                                                                              1. re: ebchower
                                                                                RedTop May 24, 2013 03:43 AM

                                                                                "State officials would not say what establishment used the rubbing alcohol or which one used dirty water, or water not from a tap. They said no health issues were reported."

                                                                                --from the ABC News report

                                                                                Pure hokum! Were this true, the establishment would have been identified, it would have been closed down immediately, and ownership would be speaking with police with their lawyers present.

                                                                                1. re: RedTop
                                                                                  ebchower May 24, 2013 04:01 AM

                                                                                  That's a good point Red Top. I just called the ABC and asked if they were making claims about rubbing alcohol, why weren't they identified and shut down? The woman said it was a great question, and put me on hold so she could ask "Don." I eventually got transferred to somebody's voice mail. I hung up as I had to take a call here at work. 866 713 8392 if you want to try.

                                                                                  1. re: RedTop
                                                                                    MGZ May 24, 2013 04:09 AM

                                                                                    RedTop, so you know, NJ has some really weird alcohol laws. Liquor licenses in my town have sold for in excess of a million dollars. More than the cost of the real estate that came along with it. There are several of us on this board who have dealt with the legal proceedings related to the nonsense. I assure you, it's not "hukum".

                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                      jrvedivici May 24, 2013 06:29 AM

                                                                                      Don't get me started about the ABC.

                                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                                        RedTop May 25, 2013 12:06 AM

                                                                                        MGZ, I don't know what more has transpired with this "investigation", but I do think that the New Jersey LCC has put itself in a very awkward position by making an unattributed accusation about finding rubbing alcohol in one of their samples.

                                                                                        Not a lawyer, but I think the LCC has raised the stakes by escalating this from a misdemenor investigation, (inn keeper fraud) to a felony (criminal endangerment). And by not clearly identifying the offending business, the LCC has implicated all 29 businesses as the potential culprit.

                                                                                        This is not a good thing.

                                                                                        1. re: RedTop
                                                                                          MGZ May 25, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                                                          Well, RedTop, I may not agree with you about the scope of government and when its exercise of power is right or wrong. Moreover, I am a lawyer and have appeared in many courts in many States. Where we have absolutely no dispute, however, is the fact that, in more than one way, "[t]his is not a good thing." But, it's New Jersey . . . we're not like other places in so many fucked up ways.

                                                                                          Weird thing is, I haven't had a Scotch in a coupla years and somehow now I want one. Though, I think I'll but my own bottle.

                                                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                                                            RedTop May 25, 2013 07:13 AM

                                                                                            >>Weird thing is, I haven't had a Scotch in a coupla years and somehow now I want one. Though, I think I'll but my own bottle.<<

                                                                                            Blend? Or Single Malt?


                                                                                            1. re: RedTop
                                                                                              MGZ May 25, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                                                              Given what's goin' on here in my lovely Garden State as the Summer begins, especially, since I live in one of the towns at the Shore devastated by that bitch, Sandy, I'm goin' all in. Gonna walk up the street and buy myself a bottle of Laphroaig. I'll have a glass for you, for, in some odd way, makin' me think of it.

                                                                                              Shit, Cheers to all of ya! My beach is clean and open. My dopey little town is gettin' better. The Ocean's gettin' warmer. And, I'm just gonna stay home and barbecue tomorrow. (Oh, and, shhh, I'm puttin' the Scotch on jrv's tab!)

                                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                jrvedivici May 26, 2013 01:14 AM


                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                  MGZ May 26, 2013 01:31 AM

                                                                                                  Thanks, I will, my friend.

                                                                                                  My mutton leg barbecue plan fell through, so I've gotta settle for the Scotch you bought me, a two inch ribeye, baked potato, a salad from the first of the lettuce leaves I grew, and the Phillies-Nationals game. Hell, I may even sit on the front porch for a while and raise a glass when the tourists stream by . . .

                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                    jrvedivici May 26, 2013 01:35 AM

                                                                                                    Well if you care to come up, I'll be droppin' a coupla dollars on some ponies. Between races I'll take a walk over to the food trucks.

                                                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                      MGZ May 26, 2013 02:15 AM

                                                                                                      I forgot about the food truck thing and I do love Monmouth Park.* Thanks for the offer, but my ass isn't movin' anywhere today - except maybe to go inside and take a nap.

                                                                                                      You shoulda bet me on that cold, dark October 30th morning that the beaches would have people on 'em for Memorial Day. There's no way I coulda believed it. You'd probably own my house right now.

                                                                                                      *When I was still in RBC, some of the girls would work spring/summers at the bar outside. First, they would serve you without questions - nice enough on it's own..

                                                                                                      Second, they would listen in on what the big money makers were betting on and share what they heard. We'd scrounge up thirty-forty bucks and sit out back. Terry would tip us off and bring by a coupla G&T's. That night most of the Senior class would be drinking for free. Usually, I still had enough money left over for gas for the week (oh, and garbage bags).

                                                                2. re: RedTop
                                                                  JustJake May 24, 2013 02:09 AM

                                                                  wtf is that supposed to mean??

                                                                3. drongo May 22, 2013 09:19 AM

                                                                  Those are mostly bottom-end restaurants, so I wouldn't think they'd even be pretending to offer premium brands.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: drongo
                                                                    flourgirl May 22, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                    I can't speak for all of them - but Bell's Tavern in Lambertville isn't. Or at least, that's not how they present themselves. I used to like that place in the distant past - but after our last experience there, this news doesn't surprise me at all.

                                                                    1. re: drongo
                                                                      Gastronomic May 23, 2013 12:15 AM

                                                                      The Brick House in Wyckoff is not bottom-end at all.

                                                                    2. j
                                                                      Jerzeegirl May 22, 2013 09:13 AM

                                                                      Wow, we used to go to the Cafe 34, it's about 3 minutes from where I live. That would explain why my drinks always tasted lousy. Been to most of those TGIFs & the Brunswick Grove too.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Jerzeegirl
                                                                        jracpa May 23, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                                        Very disappointed in the Brunswick Grove. While their guilt must be proven, from the sounds of the article I read, the 29 places charged were out of more than 60 that were visited, and various tests of the drinks were performed, so this is more than just an accusation by a customer.

                                                                        Actually went there on Tuesday night after a lull of 3 or 4 months. My daughters usually get the wings, which while tasty have always been about the smallest wings I have ever seen. Sure, they are cheap on Tuesdays, but very small. Tuesdays included a couple that were even small by the Grove's standards, literally less than an inch long.

                                                                        I will not re visit until these charges are resolved. If guilty, never again until the current owner sells to someone reputable and drives off into the sunset in his bmw, which we will have found was paid for via his improper actions.

                                                                      2. jrvedivici May 22, 2013 07:21 AM

                                                                        Getting my resume together, looks like there is going to be a regional GM job available at Friday's!!!

                                                                        1. corvette johnny May 22, 2013 07:18 AM

                                                                          Wow, so did TGIF have a franchise wide meeting on how to rip off their customers? (seriously asking this since there are so many of them.) I doubt that many general managers went rogue and did this themselves.

                                                                          They need to do a sting operation on fish used in sashimi and sushi. I know they did one not long ago but a large scale NJ one should be done.


                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: corvette johnny
                                                                            fourunder May 22, 2013 09:18 AM

                                                                            I would be more apt to believe the individual managers did go rogue on their own, rather than as a company directive. I'm sure that Company officials at TGIF know the liquor laws in every state they have locations in.....and they all have the same statutes against marrying bottles or switching and the consequences for doing so.

                                                                            As for the reason why I believe it was done more so on location level....the individual locations sales have much to do with how the management team is paid out through *TCI*, or *Total Controllable Income*, so it suggests to me their pay scale was changed....as such, the managers within the stores tried to make up grounds on Liquor Costs to increase the profitability on total sales after costs.

                                                                            I would change my position if all the TGIF stores were owned by one franchisee under one umbrella.

                                                                            1. re: fourunder
                                                                              coldsolderjoint May 22, 2013 09:23 AM

                                                                              Well, its not like the managers could talk to each other or anything like that..

                                                                              1. re: coldsolderjoint
                                                                                fourunder May 22, 2013 09:24 AM

                                                                                You would be wrong.

                                                                                1. re: coldsolderjoint
                                                                                  fourunder May 22, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                                  If you look at the list above, Applebee's has only one location listed....the Kearny location, but Doherty Enterprises owns most, if not all locations in New Jersey. The same can be said for the Ruby Tuesday as having only one citing.....so it suggests there was no Parent Company directive to deceive and steal from their customers.

                                                                                  As managers speaking to each other....in the case of TGIF, each individual location has a management team in place probably consisting of the following

                                                                                  General Manager
                                                                                  Front House Manager
                                                                                  Kitchen Manager
                                                                                  Bar Manager
                                                                                  Assistant Managers/Trainee

                                                                                  Each individual location would have daily and weekly meeting within house and with ownership.

                                                                                  Extended, each manager would have regional meetings encompassing new parent company operations for performance, new menu roll-outs and policies.

                                                                                  It is also common for managers to transfer within the system and for each to appear at the request of other locations to secret shop their stores.....managers that switch stores on a frequent basis are also more likely to share living arrangements with other managers as well, sharing leases or taking them over from other who move on.....so there is always a chance for interaction and communication between managers.

                                                                                  1. re: fourunder
                                                                                    coldsolderjoint May 22, 2013 02:25 PM

                                                                                    I never said that there was any formal communication from the top down. I've worked at places in the food industry that were franchised owned and tend to be generally low paid positions, and people do rotate through like you said. People become friends and stay in touch even though they work at different stores. One manager finds out they can increase their pay by mixing bottles, its not long before everyone knows about it. Work at any place long enough not even in the food industry and you know where the holes in the system are.

                                                                                2. re: fourunder
                                                                                  ebchower May 22, 2013 10:12 AM

                                                                                  Apparently, it is one franchisee.

                                                                                  TGI Fridays issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.

                                                                                  “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,” the company said. “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.”

                                                                                  1. re: ebchower
                                                                                    albinoni May 23, 2013 01:58 AM

                                                                                    The guys in the big office were asleep at the wheel. They can't keep getting the benefits of a franchising arrangement without keeping close tabs on franchisees' activities. It's not just about making sure that the napkins display the company's logo.

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