CEO, TGI Friday’s UK
Karen Forrester joined T.G.I Friday’s UK in November 2007 as Managing Director of the then 46 strong restaurant chain. Currently holding the position of CEO, Karen has overseen a revival of the brand in the last six years, which has seen it grow to over 60 restaurants in the UK and win a number of industry awards – many of which have specifically recognised Karen’s leadership. Upon joining, Karen implemented a people-led strategy, investing heavily in her team members and their training, to ensure guests receive the best possible experience. This approach has delivered significant results with the brand having grown steadily, defying the recession which has caused many UK consumers to forgo luxuries such as eating out. Currently, Karen is overseeing a vast and ambitious growth for the brand with her 20/20 strategy, which will see the restaurant chain grow to 120 outlets by 2020 through diversifying its offering and embracing new growth opportunities. Karen has always had a passion for hospitality having started her career working as a waitress whilst still studying. She quickly knew she had found her niche and hospitality was the career path for her. She went on to work for Mitchell & Butler for 17 years working her way up from chef and the restaurant floor as waitress, to divisional director. It was then a move to Laurel Pubs where she worked as MD for three years, before joining T.G.I Friday’s. Karen has an HNC in Management Studies from Napier University and a MBA from Edinburgh University.