WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The signage outside a former TGI Fridays location in Warwick has already been removed after the restaurant shut down without warning over the weekend.
Patrons told Eyewitness News the Route 2 restaurant — Rhode Island’s only TGI Fridays location — was open for business on Saturday. On Sunday, the building was dark and had a sign on the door asking people to visit the Seekonk location.
Employees showed up on Sunday, seemingly like any other day of work, but many were caught by surprise to find out that wasn’t the case. Perhaps none more than Christian Rapoza, who said he had just started working at the restaurant on Saturday.
“I was just in such shock,” he said. “I clocked out and left. I didn’t say anything to anybody.”
It was a feeling that Rapoza, unfortunately, knows all too well: He previously worked at the Outback in East Greenwich before that closed down two weeks ago.
“It’s two restaurants closing in a matter of two weeks,” Rapoza added.
On Monday, TGI Fridays management released a statement saying employees of the Warwick restaurant were given the option to transfer one of its other locations.
“We continually review our restaurant portfolio performance. This closure was a strategic decision based solely on business demands. Impacted restaurant managers and crew members were offered positions within our other restaurants.”TGI Fridays
Rapoza said Outback gave him the same option but again, he had to turn it down.
“I told them, ‘no, I’m a student, I can’t really do that,'” he said. “I don’t have a car right now.”
Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon also released a statement on Monday saying he doesn’t expect the building will be vacant for very long.
“With the demand on Route 2 in Warwick, we anticipate a new business coming in soon,” he said. “With this robust economy, we are hopeful that all of the displaced employees will find suitable employment quickly.”