N.J. AG announces $500,000 fine against T.G.I. Friday's franchisee

By Bryan Cohen | Aug 2, 2013

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced Wednesday that a T.G.I. Friday's franchisee will pay a $500,000 fine for allegedly serving alcoholic beverages other than what customers ordered.

In May, the Briad Group's restaurants were raided as part of Operation Swill, an operation in which 100 members of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Division of Criminal Justice raided 29 licensed New Jersey establishments. The establishments allegedly filled premium brand bottles of alcohol with non-premium brands in an attempt to deceive the consumer and increase profits.

"Briad's restaurants were scamming customers by serving them a cheap substitute for what they ordered," Hoffman said. "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."

Under the terms of the agreement, the Briad Group will pay a $500,000 fine and not contest charges that eight of its restaurants served customers alcoholic beverages other than what they ordered. Briad must also employ an ABC-appointed monitor through June 30 and make internal changes like updated employee training and inventory software. If the Briad Group violates the settlement, its restaurants will be assessed a five-day suspension.

The inquiry of Hoffman's office and the ABC into other establishments targeted in Operation Swill remains ongoing.


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