The restaurant brand is “an important part” of the packaged food company’s portfolio and “a growth driver” for its North American business, a top executive said.

Kraft Heinz sells TGI Fridays frozen appetizers for perpetuity under revised deal

Christopher Doering/Food Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Kraft Heinz updated its licensing deal with TGI Fridays to allow the packaged food company to sell the restaurant chain’s frozen appetizers for perpetuity at retail in North America.
  • The businesses first entered a licensing deal in 2001 and revised it in 2015. Kraft Heinz sells 25 products under the TGI Fridays name, including mozzarella sticks, potato skins and chicken bites.
  • Kraft Heinz is among the food giants that have turned to incorporating restaurant brands into their portfolio. In addition to TGI Fridays, Kraft Heinz also produces products under the Taco Bell and Benihana banners. TGI Fridays plans to use proceeds from the revised licensing deal with Kraft Heinz to pay back bonds, according to Bloomberg.

Dive Insight:

Kraft Heinz and other food manufacturers have turned to restaurant licensing deals to expand their reach and tap into the benefits of a well-known brand name. Today, everyone from Arby’s and Sonic to McDonald’s and Red Lobster have products adorned with their logos on store shelves. Last year, Conagra Brands partnered with Wendy’s to bring the restaurant chain’s popular chili to the dinner table through a canned offering.

As consumers look to replicate the restaurant experience in their kitchen, brands like TGI Fridays — which is synonymous with its bar-friendly appetizers — stand to benefit. Inflation also is forcing many consumers to cut back on eating out. The ability to bring restaurant-quality foods to the home, for a fraction of the price, could make these products more attractive to cash-strapped consumers. TGI Fridays already has been a strong brand for Kraft Heinz and maintaining ownership of the license could provide it with more opportunity to innovate and grow it long term.

«The TGI Fridays brand is an important part of our frozen food portfolio and is a growth driver for our business across North America,» Pedro Navio, North America Zone president at Kraft Heinz, said in a statement. «This new agreement aligns with our strategy to accelerate growth in categories where we can create more value for shoppers.” 

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