TGI Fridays Began So The Owner Could Meet Women

Dating in the internet age is arguably a simple process to take part in. Aside from dating apps (which boast over 300 million global users, according to Business of Apps), there's the quick yet often scorned method of messaging people on social media.

In the olden days though, the closest anyone could get to sliding into someone's messages was to gradually (and somewhat creepily) edge along a sticky bar to start up an unwanted conversation with an unsuspecting stranger. To try to make the process of igniting that first romantic spark easier, The New Yorker reports how a business was created to encourage singles to mingle. That business was TGI Fridays.

Opened in New York in 1965 by Alan Stillman, TGI Fridays was designed to provide "the greatest show on earth," according to its website, including food, cocktails, and a party atmosphere. As well as helping single people to meet each other, The New Yorker notes how Stillman hoped TGI Fridays would benefit his own romantic ambitions – and he was certainly determined to see it happen.

TGI Fridays aimed to attract airline stewardesses

According to The New Yorker, Alan Stillman said the best way for men and women to meet in the 1960s was to go to cocktail parties, so it stands to reason that, rather than scour the city to find parties taking place, it was easier to build a place where people could go to meet – so TGI Fridays stepped up to the plate.

Stillman took over a local bar, re-branding it with bright colors and convenient food and drinks, and naming it TGI Fridays. He used $5,000 borrowed from his mother to make it more enticing to the airline stewardesses who just happened to live nearby, a small part of the estimated 800,000 single women living in Upper East Side New York at the time. He began running TGI Fridays with a simple business plan: "to meet a lot of women," reports Insider.

Stillman's business plan was a success, reports the Wall Street Journal, with the TGI Fridays founder managing to meet some of those local stewardesses. Speaking with Insider, he recalled, "It was so crowded that you didn't have to walk up to anybody to get a name or a telephone number. You bumped into them." None of the liaisons resulted in marriage. but according to The New York Times Stillman eventually settled down with Donna Mihalo.