TGI Fridays' risky move could spark trend: Pro

TGI Fridays recently introduced a new endless appetizer promotion, and that has one restaurant analyst nervous about the risky move having a ripple effect across the already challenged industry.

In its latest bid to boost business, the restaurant chain is offering all-you-can-eat appetizers for $10 per person. Diners can choose one appetizer from the menu and get unlimited servings.

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"The thing that makes me nervous about a promotion like that is there's always a ripple effect, typically, especially if something really proves to be successful," Wunderlich Securities' Robert Derrington told CNBC's "Street Signs."

"Those brands that typically don't do as aggressive a promotion feel as though they may have to respond. ... Time will tell."

TGI Fridays' loaded potato skins, one of the choices for "Endless Appetizers for $10."
TGI Fridays | PRNewsFoto
TGI Fridays' loaded potato skins, one of the choices for "Endless Appetizers for $10."

The casual-dining industry has been "very weak," and past promotions haven't managed to help. However, because TGI Fridays' strength typically lies in adult beverages and appetizers, its "calculated risk" may pay off.

"They're clearly going after the strength of the core business, so if there's anything that might get some response from consumers this certainly seems like one that could," Derrington said.

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Right now, he isn't overly concerned about TGI Fridays' competitor, Brinker International, which owns the Chili's Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy chains.

"They are the low-cost provider. It's a very good management team, they've had very good operating trends," Derrington said. "They'll make a calculated response but I don't think they'll have to give food away to able to respond fairly."

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—By CNBC's Michelle Fox