Florida's Greg Grafal Wins Southeast Division Title of T.G.I. Friday's(R) World Bartender Champion

Florida's Greg Grafal Wins Southeast Division Title of T.G.I. Friday's(R) World Bartender Champion

Proceeds to Make-A-Wish Foundation(R) Of America

Orlando, Fla., // PRNewswire // -- Greg Grafal of the West Kissimmee, Florida T.G.I. Friday's restaurant defeated other top Larger than Life mixologists from across the Southeast last week to advance to the finals of T.G.I. Friday's® World Bartender Championship. Grafal will be making his first trip to the finals where he will face eight other finalists from around the globe for the title of "Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender in the World." All funds raised from the annual event benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

"This is an incredible feeling and all of my hard work paid off tonight," said Southeast Division champion Grafal. "T.G.I. Friday's is known for its great bartenders and I am very excited to be representing my local Friday's and the rest of the Southeast at the finals next year."

The divisional competition consisted of three segments - compulsory, speed round and freestyle - as well as a comprehensive skill test. The mixologists who competed in the Southeast Division competition are finalists from local, regional and super-regional competitions held earlier this fall.

Overall, more than 8,000 Friday's® bartenders from 62 countries are testing their knowledge and skills in their quest to reach the finals of the World Bartender Championship which will be held March 10, 2009 in Dallas.

The competition, which represents Friday's heritage, knowledge, expertise and innovation in the beverage industry, began back in the late 80s as a challenge between bartenders and has grown into a full representation of the Friday's brand, one of the most recognized brands in the world. Friday's originated the now-famous, trend-setting, bottle-tossing "flair" style of bartending and its long history of innovation includes popularizing the term "Happy Hour".

There are 930 T.G.I. Friday's restaurants in 62 countries. To find a Friday's location, visit www.fridays.com.

Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., the parent company of T.G.I. Friday's Inc., is a privately held company owned by Minneapolis-based Carlson, a world leader in the hospitality, travel and marketing industries. As of December 2008, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide owns, operates, franchises or licenses more than 1,000 restaurants in 62 countries.

SOURCE: T.G.I. Friday's Restaurants

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