(USA TODAY) — If you're going to phone in an order a chicken quesadilla from an upscale restaurant, you might want a beer or glass of wine with it.
For those who need a stiff drink with their dinner to go, TGI Fridays is about to try an experiment that could set an example for restaurants that are taking on home delivery around the country.
Starting in November, customers ordering food online or through the company's app will be able to add alcoholic drinks to their orders, the chain announced Thursday. The initiative begins in Dallas with plans to roll it out throughout Texas and expand to other states.
While liquor delivery is offered in some cities, TGI Fridays officials believe it will be unique in offering it as a large chain and true to its image as a happy, celebratory drinking destination.
"We are a bar-centric restaurant brand," said Caroline Masullo, vice president of digital strategy for the chain with more than 900 restaurants globally. "We’re getting people who are looking for food and alcohol delivery in one. These are new customers coming to us, because we're the only ones doing this."
TGI Fridays counts on booze to deliver about a quarter of its sales. To accomplish the task, TGI is partnering with a delivery outfit, Lash, that already offers delivery of alcohol in Dallas, Houston, San Francisco and other cities.
When ordering, people are asked if they're age 21 or older. If the delivery contains alcohol, customers must show their driver's license or state identity card to the delivery drivers to prove their age, according to TGI Fridays.
Drivers then go to a liquor store to pick up the alcohol and to the participating TGI Fridays for the food. Due to the second stop, deliveries "may take little bit longer," she said.
The chain started offering local food delivery last fall.
Alcoholic beverages are a profit driver for restaurants. The profit margin can be as high as 25% for beer and 90% on mixed drinks, according to restaurant consultant John Gordon of the Pacific Management Consulting Group.
"Restaurants and retailers of all types would love to sell alcohol," he said.