Friendly's

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Friendly's
Type Private
Founded Springfield, Massachusetts (1935)[1]
Headquarters Wilbraham, Massachusetts, United States
Key people John M. Maguire, CEO[2]
Products Sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups, breakfast foods, ice cream
Employees 10,000
Parent Sun Capital Partners
Website friendlys.com

Friendly's is a restaurant chain on the United States' East Coast. Friendly's was founded in 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts by brothers Curtis Blake and S. Prestley Blake. Friendly's has 10,000 employees; John M. Maguire is the CEO.[2] It offers 22 ice cream flavors.

A total of 380 Friendly's are spread across Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.

History[edit]

Friendly's was founded in 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, by brothers Prestley and Curtis Blake in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Blake brothers opened a small ice cream shop named "Friendly", selling double-dip cones for 5 cents each. In 1940, a second Friendly in West Springfield was opened with an expanded food menu. During World War II, the Blakes closed the business until the war's end.[3] By 1951, 10 Friendly's were operating in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. The expansion of the company led to the move of headquarters from Springfield to Wilbraham in 1960. By 1974 the chain had grown to 500 restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. That year, a food processing and distribution plant opened in Troy, Ohio.[1]

A Friendly's in Unionville, Connecticut

In 1979, the Blake brothers retired, selling Friendly to Hershey Foods Corporation, which operated the chain as a wholly owned subsidiary. In 1988, Donald N. Smith purchased Friendly from the Hershey corporation, with Friendly becoming part of Tennessee Foods. In 1989, Smith added the 's to Friendly, making its colloquial name official.

States with Friendly's locations.

In 1997, Friendly Ice Cream Corporation debuted on NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol FRND. The stock began at $18 per share, peaking at $26. Around then, 34 stores were sold to DavCo Restaurants, which planned 100 openings in the next 10 years. Despite DavCo's efforts, Friendly's stock price fell to $5.

In 1998, Kim Andereck was brought in as Vice President of Franchise Development and became instrumental in creating an aggressive franchise program for the chain, which had been company-owned. Now, about 50% of its restaurants are franchise-owned. In summer 2000, Friendly's switched to the American Stock Exchange; symbol FRN. In June 2007, Friendly's appointed President and CEO George Condos; that summer it was bought for $337 million by the private investment firm Sun Capital Partners, Inc.[4] In December 2008, Ned R. Lidvall was appointed President and CEO.

On August 5, 2009, the first Friendly's Express opened in Mansfield, Massachusetts, with three in 2010: April 28 at Coolidge Corner in Brookline, July 7 in Wareham, and September 28 in Methuen.

Bankruptcy[edit]

A casualty of a tough economic environment, rising commodity costs, and changing customer tastes, Friendly's announced it had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection and closed 63 stores in October 2011.[5][6] The company had secured more than $71 million in debtor-in-possession financing to keep it afloat during bankruptcy proceedings.[6] Later that month, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federal agency responsible for protecting workers' pension benefits, accused Sun Capital of illegally moving assets to keep control of the company. A few days later both parties were able to reach a settlement.[7] On November 1, 2011, the US Bankruptcy Court gave Friendly's permission to sell the company at an auction on December 22, 2011.[8] On December 21, Friendly Ice Cream Corp cancelled the auction after receiving no offers to compete with the $75 million offer made by an affiliate of its owner, Sun Capital Partners Inc.[9] Sun Capital paid about $75 million and retained ownership through its affiliate.[10]

On January 9, 2012, Friendly's announced the closure of 37 more stores, but that the company had emerged from bankruptcy protection. As of January 30, 2013, Friendly's has been climbing out of bankruptcy and renovating their restaurants and menus.[11] Friendly's has closed about 100 stores since filing for bankruptcy protection in October 2011.[11] CEO Harsha V. Agadi said in a statement, "We regret that this decision has become necessary, and we appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Friendly's employees at each of the affected locations. We intend to accommodate as many as possible from closed locations to nearby operating restaurants, where available."[11]

On February 10, 2012, Agadi stepped down as Chief Executive Officer. Agadi has invested some of his own money in the company, and remains on the board of directors.[12]

On April 12, 2012, Friendly's announced that John M. Maguire had been named Chief Executive Officer of the company.[2] Maguire brought two decades of experience in restaurant operations, most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Panera Bread. Maguire previously held positions with Au Bon Pain Co., Inc., Bread and Circus/Whole Foods Supermarkets, and Continental Baking Company.[2]

Legal issues[edit]

In 2003, Prestley filed a lawsuit against Friendly Ice Cream Corporation and chairman Donald Smith in a derivative action to force the money back to the company which Blake claimed it was improperly paid for use of a private jet. Blake accused Smith of using the jet for personal use and using the airplane lease to carry $3 million annually from the company into another restaurant chain he controlled.[13]

Products[edit]

Friendly's is best known for its ice cream. It serves a variety of sundaes, including the cone head, a clown with Reese's Pieces for eyes. Friendly's ice cream dessert options include: root beer floats, Fribble shakes, Friend-Z, ice cream sodas, double-thick milkshakes, and sundaes. A Fribble is a thick shake, originally made with iced milk, now made with soft serve ice cream. A Friend-Z is soft serve ice cream with up to 3 toppings, mixed together. Friendly's take-home options include: Sundaes-to-Go, ice cream rolls, cartons of ice cream, ice cream cakes, and ice cream pizzas.[14]

Friendly's also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner items, such as hamburgers, french fries, wraps, and sandwiches. Unlike chains Denny's and IHOP, breakfast items at Friendly's are available mornings only; lunch and dinner are available later.

Friendly's manufactures and sells packaged premium ice cream distributed in over 7,500 supermarkets (and other stores) nationwide.[14]

Slogans[edit]

  • "You're in for a nice surprise" (1979–1982)
  • "There's no place like home" (1985–1989)
  • "Where ice cream makes the meal/I wanna go to Friendly's" (2008–2011)
  • "Oh, that looks good!" (2010–Present)
  • "High 5, it's Friendly's!" (2011-2012)
  • "Oh yeah!" (2012-2013)[15]
  • "Where ice cream makes the meal" (current)

References[edit]

External links[edit]