United Restaurant Group (URG), the second largest franchisee of TGI Fridays℠, is based in Richmond, Virginia. Since its inception in 1993 with just two restaurants, the company has experienced impressive growth, expanding its presence to encompass 32 restaurants. Over the last decade, URG has undertaken a strategic right-sizing initiative to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness. As a result, the company now operates twelve Fridays locations spanning three states in the Mid-Atlantic, and a new Southern Barbecue concept set to open in March 2024 in Mechanicsville, Virginia.
Recognizing the substantial shifts in consumer dining preferences, which have transformed the way people explore, order, and engage with food, URG is actively engaged in shaping the future of dining hospitality. The company is committed to developing new and innovative dining concepts to meet evolving customer demands.
At URG, we take immense pride in our restaurants and hold ourselves to the highest standards. We constantly strive for excellence in nurturing our relationships with our esteemed guests, dedicated team members, and valued vendors.
Tony Grillo, President & CEO
Tony’s illustrious career commenced following his studies at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York. Demonstrating exceptional talent, he swiftly established himself at Macy’s in New York City, where he played a pivotal role in the management of the esteemed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In 1986, Tony embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, co-founding highly successful restaurants in Northern Virginia, including the renowned Foundry Restaurant in Georgetown. His remarkable expertise and outstanding leadership captured the attention of TGI Fridays, where he orchestrated the revitalization of a struggling four-store business within the United Restaurant Group. Through his visionary approach, the company flourished, expanding to encompass 32 thriving restaurants across three states.
Today, Tony continues to guide the United Restaurant Group team toward a prosperous future through operational enhancements and sustained growth.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Grillo actively contributes to philanthropic endeavors. He serves on the Advisory Board for Share Our Strength, a dedicated organization combatting childhood hunger and ensuring that no child goes hungry.
Residing in Fairfax, VA, Tony holds his family in dear. With a blissful 43-year marriage, he takes immense pride in his three children and four delightful grandchildren. As an enthusiastic golfer, Grillo thoroughly enjoys engaging in friendly rounds of Nassau.
Kathy Stevens, Chief Financial Officer
Kathy Stevens provides the bridge between operations and finance by having worked at all levels over her 26 years with United Restaurant Group. She believes that moving forward financially as a company only works when all levels are trained to understand the financial piece.
Kathy has mastered the different software platforms used throughout the company, whether at the corporate office, the store level, or used by the franchisor. Currently, she is working to integrate all platforms for seamless processing and training the general managers on financial processes and results to expand their knowledge base.
Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science from the College of William & Mary. When she is not digging through financial statements, Kathy enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her family…if three teenagers can be coerced into spending time together.
Jimmy Cabanban, Vice President of Operations
Jimmy’s journey in the hospitality industry began in 1998 when he joined United Restaurant Group as a beverage manager. Within a remarkably short period, his exceptional skills and dedication earned him a rapid promotion to the role of General Manager. By 2004, Jimmy had ascended to the esteemed position of Director of Operations, showcasing his remarkable leadership abilities.
In 2006, Jimmy’s outstanding contributions and achievements led to him being honored with the prestigious Franchise Operator of the Year award for TGI Fridays. His talent and expertise caught the attention of Applebee’s in 2014, resulting in his recruitment as a Senior Area Director, entrusted with the oversight of twenty restaurants.
After a successful tenure at Applebee’s, Jimmy returned to his roots at United Restaurant Group in 2022, assuming the pivotal role of Vice President of Operations. His vast experience and strategic insights contribute to the company’s continued success.
During his well-deserved free time, Jimmy cherishes moments spent with his wife, whom he has been happily married to for 21 years, and their three beloved children. Family holds a special place in Jimmy’s heart, providing him with joy, love, and a source of rejuvenation outside the demands of his professional endeavors.
Vicki Simpkiss, Director of Human Resources
Vicki Simpkiss currently holds the position of Director of Human Resources at United Restaurant Group. Her journey with TGI Fridays began in the 1980s when she started as a server. In 1999, she transitioned into the role of Regional Training Manager, where she played a crucial part in designing an hourly training program for the franchise.
In 2005, Vicki was promoted to the esteemed position of Director of Human Resources. In this multifaceted role, she takes on various responsibilities, including the supervision of Manager Training and contributing to the development of exceptional managers and leaders within our organization.
Vicki pursued her education at J Sergeant Reynolds, specializing in Paralegal studies.
During her leisure time, she finds joy in spending quality moments with her numerous grandchildren.
Rob Stevens, Director of Marketing & Brand Standards
Rob returns to URG to build a new presence in the market for one of TGI Fridays strongest and most storied franchises. Starting his career with TGI Fridays, Rob has spent many years in operations of high-volume corporate restaurant concepts as well as holding high-level culinary positions in the country club world. For a decade and a half, Rob owned and operated a hugely successful catering company that was accompanied by two breakfast and lunch restaurant concepts. Most recently, he has consulted with URG to help reform operational standards coming out of the Covid era.
Rob has been married for 23 years and has three teenage children. He enjoys Cubs baseball, live music, and target shooting as his hobbies.
Tina Addington, General Manager – Midlothian VA
Tina’s path to management at Untied Restaurant Group has been nothing short of remarkable. Seven years ago, she embarked on her journey as a Server, but it didn’t take long for her to realize her passion for management. Through dedicated training and unwavering determination, she steadily climbed the organizational ladder, transitioning from Server Manager to Bar Manager. Just three months before the onset of COVID, she received a well-deserved promotion to the position of General Manager at TGI Fridays in Midlothian, Virginia.
Tina takes immense pride in delivering exceptional guest experiences, fostering the growth and development of her team, and driving sales to new heights. Her commitment to excellence has become the cornerstone of her managerial philosophy.
Beyond her professional endeavors, Tina finds joy in the company of her three children and two grandchildren. They share a love for Staffordshire Terriers and an interest in Audi automobiles.
Michael P. Allen, General Manager - Newport News VA
Michael (Mike), is a dedicated individual who embarked on his career journey at TGI Fridays as a Server in Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up in a military family alongside three siblings, Mike learned the values of hard work and perseverance from an early age. In 2019, he joined United Restaurant Group (URG) as the General Manager of the Fridays in Greensboro, North Carolina. Demonstrating exceptional leadership skills, Mike has successfully managed two other Fridays locations for URG. Presently, he holds the position of General Manager in Newport News, Virginia.
Guided by a powerful quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward,” Mike embodies a relentless spirit of progress and determination. Outside of his professional endeavors, Mike cherishes quality time with his family, engaging in activities such as bowling and exploring new destinations through travel.
Ashley Burris, General Manager – Dover DE
In her high school years, Ashley made her mark by playing varsity soccer and even joining the boys’ wrestling team, demonstrating her tenacity and love for sports. Beyond sports, she dedicated her free time to volunteering in her community and playing the clarinet, showcasing her multifaceted talents.
Ashley’s journey in the restaurant industry began during high school when she worked at a local diner. She later attended the University of Delaware, graduating in 2007. It was during her college years that she started working at TGI Fridays at the age of 19. Although she briefly worked at Applebee’s, her heart was with TGI Fridays. In 2009, she returned and climbed the ranks from Server and Bartender to positions like Beverage Manager, Kitchen Manager, and Front of House Manager.
Today, Ashley proudly holds the position of General Manager, a testament to her unwavering commitment and expertise. She sees this as an opportunity to showcase her TGI Fridays knowledge while learning from her peers and superiors.
Family is at the center of Ashley’s life. Her son is her pride and joy, and her mother is her hero. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys attending her son’s soccer events, working with the local community, and spending time with her dog.
Sarah Clark, General Manager - Newark DE
Sarah attended Penn State and completed a Bachelor’s in Business Marketing. While at Penn State, she started working as a server on Fridays and held many positions up through the ranks, including Service Manager, Kitchen Manager, and now a General Manager. Sarah enjoys motivating her team to deliver a great guest experience. She prides herself on her team’s success in reaching their goals.
In her free time, she can be found with her dog in the garden, where she grows vegetables, or volunteering at the local animal adoption center. She also loves to spend time with her god kids, watching them grow into amazing little people.
Sharon Fentem, General Manager - Garner NC
After completing rigorous EMS technical training, Sharon spent the first four years of her career as a first responder. She then shifted her focus to raising a family of four, which she considers her most significant challenge. Later, Sharon worked as a manager at Walmart before joining Fridays as the General Manager of the Garner location.
During her leisure time, Sharon enjoys spending time with her grandkids and working on her vacation home in the western mountains of North Carolina. When she’s not with her family in the mountains, she volunteers her time to local EMS services.
Eric Gooch, General Manager - Greensboro NC
With an impressive 24-year career at Fridays, Eric started as a sauté cook at the TGI Fridays location in Vestal, New York, in 1998. He honed his skills in a fast-paced kitchen environment before transferring to the Cary, North Carolina location, where he quickly rose from Beverage Manager to Kitchen Manager. Eric played a crucial role in launching three new Fridays restaurants in North Carolina, which led to his promotion as General Manager at the Winston-Salem, NC location. He now holds the same position at the Greensboro location. During his free time, Eric enjoys fishing and other outdoor activities.
Linda Jones, General Manager – Roanoke VA
Linda’s journey with United Restaurant Group began in 2015 when she joined as a Server at TGI Fridays. Since then, her career has been a testament to her unwavering dedication and continuous growth within the company. With relentless determination, she steadily climbed the ranks, eventually attaining the position of General Manager.
As a natural self-starter, Linda exemplifies a strong work ethic that she strives to instill in her colleagues, empowering them to excel both professionally and personally. She takes pride in cultivating an environment where individuals can thrive, fostering their development and guiding them toward success.
Outside of her professional pursuits, Linda cherishes her leisure time spent with her two daughters. Her love for reading and passion for exploring the great outdoors are activities she joyfully shares with them, creating lasting memories together.
Jake Kirchner, General Manager - Asheville NC
In 2009, Jake began his journey with Fridays as a Beverage Manager in Asheville. Through his hard work and dedication, he quickly climbed the ranks to become a General Manager. His efforts were recognized in 2017 when he was named Franchise GM of the year across the entire Fridays system. Seeking a new challenge, Jake moved to Florida in 2021 with his family to take on the role of GM at Whiskey Joes. However, in late 2022, Jake and his family returned to Asheville to be closer to their loved ones. When not overseeing the restaurant’s operations, Jake spends quality time with his wife and son while also cheering on his favorite college football team, Michigan.
Alpha Loucar, General Manager - Henrico VA
Originally from Senegal, Loucar began his tenure at TGI Fridays in 2015, starting as a Kitchen Manager. He subsequently worked at Five Guys for five years as a staff trainer before returning to us. Currently, Alpha has taken on the role of General Manager at one of our busiest TGI Fridays locations in Richmond, Virginia. When he’s not on the job, Alpha enjoys spending time with his wife and their five children – three girls and two boys – and sharing his love for soccer with both his family and the community.
Antonio Luna, General Manager - New Castle DE
Antonio grew up in a close-knit community near Mexico City, where he nurtured his passion for success. He embarked on his educational journey at the Autonomous University of Mexico State (UAEM). After graduating he started at TGI Fridays, working his way up the ranks from Dishwasher through various management roles and then on to General Manager where his is today.
Antonio’s unwavering work ethic is a testament to his deeply ingrained values of dedication, integrity, respect, and equality. These principles serve as the guiding force behind his professional endeavors, enabling him to inspire and uplift others.
When not dedicated to his career, Antonio cherishes precious moments with his wife and two dogs. They enjoy outdoor entertaining, cooking and watching sports together with friends and family.
Eric Walthall, General Manager – Richmond VA
Eric is an accomplished professional with over 15 years of experience at United Restaurant Group. Throughout his tenure, he has diligently worked his way up the ranks and currently holds the position of General Manager at the TGI Fridays store in Richmond, Virginia. As the oldest among his five siblings, Eric possesses a natural inclination for leadership.
A strong advocate for team development, Eric takes great pride in nurturing his staff and witnessing their achievements as they become invaluable assets to the company. Guided by his personal motto of “it takes a village,” Eric holds high expectations for his team while treating each individual with the respect and kindness he values. His approach fosters a supportive work environment where everyone can thrive.
Beyond his professional commitments, Eric cherishes quality time spent with his wife and two daughters. When he has a free moment, you may spot him on the golf links, or watching sports with friends and family.
Thomas Weston, General Manager – Chesapeake VA
Thomas Weston, a native of Brooklyn, NY, and a Long Island resident from his formative years, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to his role as General Manager. A graduate of Port Jefferson High School, his journey in the hospitality industry began in 1998 when he joined TGI Fridays. Over the years, he climbed the ranks, culminating in a significant achievement as a member of the team that launched the Chesapeake Fridays location. In 2022, he was promoted to Kitchen Manager, and today, he proudly serves as the General Manager, committed to delivering outstanding dining experiences.
Beyond his professional achievements, Thomas is a devoted family man, celebrating 27 years of marriage and raising five children. In his precious moments of leisure, he finds solace and joy by spending quality time with his kids and pursuing his passion for fishing.
Josie Woodall, General Manager - Wilmington Delaware
Josie brings a wealth of hospitality expertise, her journey with TGI Fridays began in 2007 as a bartender in New Castle. Over the years, she excelled in various roles, showcasing her commitment to learning and leadership. From Newark to Dover, she’s managed multiple locations, driving operational excellence and team cohesion. Josie’s dedication extends beyond work—she’s a loving spouse and parent to three children, two dogs, and a cat. Her strong family values and passion for creating lasting memories mirror her professional ethos. Josie epitomizes success through her journey from bartender through the ranks to General Manager, leaving an indelible mark on all her colleagues.