Ian Saunders Named President and Chief Operating Officer for T.G.I. Friday's(R) International

CARROLLTON, Texas, Feb. 8 // PRNewswire // -- After an extensive search process, Nick Shepherd, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, named Ian Saunders as president and chief operating officer for T.G.I. Friday's International and a member of the Carlson Restaurants Worldwide executive team.

In his new role, Saunders will be responsible for all aspects of our International business, leading the International management team, and continuing to refine and execute our aggressive growth strategy. He comes to Friday's® with extensive global food service experience and a track record of driving and sustaining aggressive business results in the global marketplace.

Prior to joining Friday's, Ian was with Papa John's International, Inc. where he most recently served as Regional Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prior to Papa John's, Ian spent six years in General Management roles within the UK-based Geest Ltd., a leading manufacturer and distributor of produce and fresh prepared foods to the food service and retail sector, and fifteen years in various leadership roles at Yum! Brands, Inc. Ian's formative years were spent working in the casual dining sector with London-based Grand Metropolitan PLC and Whitbread PLC.

"Adding Ian to our international business and our Executive Team is a huge win for us," said Shepherd. "Ian's extensive global knowledge and innovative thinking combined with his successful track record of driving and sustaining aggressive business growth in the global marketplace, make him the ideal candidate for this key role in our business."

Saunders, who received his Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Catering Management from the University of Surrey, and his Master of Business Administration from United Kingdom's Cranfield University, will reside in the United Kingdom. Saunders first day in his new position will be March 1.

With more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries, including approximately 600 restaurants in the U.S., T.G.I. Friday's offers great food, innovative drinks and a unique experience filled with flair and a Thank God It's Friday's™ attitude. Friday's authentic, engaging atmosphere makes it the perfect place to escape, socialize and connect with people while getting a rejuvenating second wind. Members of Give Me More Stripes®, Friday's guest recognition program, receive free stuff and special perks year-round. As the original casual dining restaurant, T.G.I. Friday's has a rich heritage which includes being credited with popularizing Happy Hour, Long Island Iced Tea and Loaded Potato Skins. T.G.I. Friday's is also famous for its flair bartenders, approximately 8000 of whom compete annually for the title of the "World's Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender."

Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., the parent company of TGI Friday's Inc., is a privately held company owned by Minneapolis-based Carlson, a world leader in the hospitality and travel industries. As of February 2010, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide owns, operates, franchises or licenses more than 1,000 restaurants in 60 countries.

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

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