Generally, I don’t root for area businesses to go out of business, but I can’t seem to hide it when it comes from such inauthentic bullshit like T.G.I.Friday’s. It’s been the butt of several jokes, and that forced party atmosphere has always left a bad aftertaste. It’s the annoying person always shouting, “Hey guys I’m cool!” but never really knew what cool was. Somehow, in spite of all this, they have weaseled their way into every mid-to-big sized city around the U.S. though.
When the recent news that the T.G.I.Friday’s in East Peoria, Illinois was closed, I wasn’t surprised. In my estimation they should have been closed in the ’90’s. The reasoning given to the closure is what shocked me. “Due to unfortunate economic conditions we are closed. Please visit our Peoria location.” So the economy isn’t bad 10 miles up the road? I’m confused…
East Peoria is seeing a huge economic investment in a new “downtown” (more to come on that) and the location of the Friday’s was in the supposed hot-bed of the action. It sits in the shadow of a Walmart, which historically, is sold in Economic Development circles as prime real estate. A new Bass Pro Shop was opened recently, and touted the same thing, that retailers and restaurants will flock to the location because of the MEGA-BOX.
Plenty of reasons can be given to this closing, from poor food quality, bad service, and mismanagement to name a few. However, maybe there is something to this sign that may lead as some indicator into the future. Maybe the effects of big-boxing and drive-thru’ing this part of town are now finally being felt.
I would love to say that people finally figured out that the extreme fajitas really aren’t that extreme, but I know the American taste bud isn’t that sophisticated yet. I would also love to say that people are finally getting tired of this escapist and fake experience. What I do know though, is that this building lends itself to really only one possible purpose in the future, that of another chain restaurant. It will most likely need an incentive to lure in an investor, and it will most likely not create any sort of community atmosphere of which it claims to.
As for the new “downtown,” I plan on elaborating that claim here shortly – and that little white sign on the door of Friday’s might be telling.