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.