In May, the state detailed its yearlong sting, "Operation Swill," that found some bartenders used rubbing alcohol and dirty water in mixed drinks. Those bars were not identified by name.
Of the 29 bars identified, 13 were TGI Friday's in northern and central New Jersey. After completing the undercover operation, state investigators raided the bars and confiscated 1,000 bottles of booze - 250 from Friday's - to be tested.
Wednesday's settlement involves eight Friday's, in West Orange, East Windsor, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Freehold, Marlboro, Hazlet, and Linden.
The five other Friday's were not charged for lack of evidence, said Zach Hosseini, spokesman for the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Hosseini said the 16 other bars throughout the state remain under investigation.
"This unlawful practice took advantage of consumers who were cheated out of what they thought they were purchasing," said acting Attorney General John Hoffman.
"This fine should send a clear message to every bar and restaurant throughout New Jersey that customers should get what they pay for every time without exception," Hoffman said in a news release.
When the allegations initially were publicized, TGI Friday's corporate president Ricky Richardson said the issue would be taken seriously.
Wednesday, Briad, which manages the restaurants, released a statement that said it fully cooperated with state investigators and would continue to do so.
"We look forward to putting this matter behind us," said Rick Barbrick, Briad's president and chief operating officer.
"We have also made operational adjustments, initiated new training programs, and redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of our restaurants adhere to Friday's extensive bar and beverage standards. We believe these actions will result in even higher customer satisfaction and a strengthened level of trust."
As part of the settlement, the company must employ a state-appointed monitor through June 30, 2014. That person is to have full access to company records to assess and recommend changes that may include updating employee training and inventory software.
Additionally, Friday's released a statement Wednesday saying the company was pleased that Briad and the state had reached an agreement.
"We are satisfied that this settlement brings the issue to a close," the statement said. "Briad has recommitted to ensuring that all of its restaurants operate in accordance with our extensive bar and beverage practices and the high standards and values of the TGI Friday's brand."
Contact Barbara Boyer at 856-779-3838, email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @BBBoyer.