TGI Fridays Sued For Not Printing All Drink Prices On Menu

Given the vast number of available cocktails and beers available at most bars, it’s rare — if not impossible — to see a list of prices for everything you could drink. But in a recently filed class action suit, a man in New Jersey alleges that TGI Fridays is deliberately omitting drink prices to trick customers into paying more than they should.

According to the complaint [PDF; starts on p. 13], originally filed in a state court but moved last week to a U.S. District Court, the plaintiff visited a Fridays restaurant in September and says he ordered a mixed drink that had been “offered for sale” on the menu without a price. The customer says that he’d previously ordered soft drinks and beer at various Fridays restaurants without prices, but this drink was apparently the tipping point, as he claims it wasn’t until after he received and drank the beverage that he learned it would cost him a “staggering” $10.38.

“Defendants’ practice of making an affirmative offer for the sale of beverages without prices on otherwise comprehensively priced menus is an intentional and carefully planned act,” reads the complaint, which alleges that Fridays and the franchisee defendants named in suit engage in “‘menu engineering’ — the deliberate and strategic construction of menus to exploit consumer psychology and manipulate customer perceptions.”

The plaintiff maintains that the omission of drink prices from the menu is designed to increase impulse buys and to allow Fridays to charge “slightly excessive prices on some drinks without losing sales” while “charging grossly excessive prices on other drinks.”

Additionally, the suit contends that Fridays is “charging different prices for the same beverage depending on where in the restaurant the beverage is ordered.”

The plaintiff argues that marketing drinks but not telling the customer about the price until after the drink is ordered is a violation of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act, and is seeking penalties of $100 per drink for every member of the plaintiff class, which would include anyone who bought a drink without a listed price at one of several Fridays locations after July 14.

The Courier-Post reports that this is just one of three lawsuits against Fridays over the same issue in the state. The two other complaints were filed against the franchisees who previously owned the New Jersey locations.

Regardless of whether you agree with the plaintiff or not, let this story be a reminder that you can always ask how much something costs before you order it.

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