Eight TGI Fridays restaurants in New Jersey will pay a $500,000 total fine to the state and will not contest charges that they served bottom-shelf drinks to customers who had ordered premium alcohol.
The establishments, run by hospitality franchise company Briad Group, will shell out $400,000 for the violations and $100,000 to cover the investigative costs associated with the state's "Operation Swill" sting.
The state's Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control raided 29 eateries in May and seized 1,000 bottles, according to a statement Wednesday from New Jersey's Acting Atty. Gen. John Hoffman.
Among the restaurants suspected of pulling the boozy bait-and-switch: a Ruby Tuesday, an Applebee's and 13 TGI Fridays.
Officials said in May that they had encountered bottles filled with dirty water and also a mixture of rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring.
The eight TGI Fridays included in Wednesday's deal agreed to employ a state-appointed monitor through June 2014.
[Updated, July 31, 1:35 p.m.: In a statement, the Briad group said it was pleased that the settlement was reached.
"In addition to the settlement, we have also made operational adjustments, initiated new training programs and redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of our restaurants adhere to Fridays' extensive bar and beverage standards," the company said. "We believe these actions will result in even higher customer satisfaction and a strengthened level of trust."]