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FoundedSpringfield, Massachusetts (1935; 88 years ago (1935))[1]
HeadquartersWilbraham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Number of locations
Key people
George Michel (CEO)[4]
ProductsSandwiches, burgers, salads, soups, breakfast foods, ice cream, hot dogs
Number of employees
ParentDairy Farmers of America
(dairy products)
Amici Partners Group (restaurants)

Friendly's is a restaurant chain on the East Coast of the United States. Friendly's was founded in 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts, by the brothers S. Prestley Blake and Curtis Blake. It has 10,000 employees; George Michel is the CEO.[5] It offers diner-style cuisine and highlights its 22 ice cream flavors; many locations offer an ice-cream only take-out window alongside of the table service option. A total of 126 Friendly's are spread across Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.


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.[6]

By 1951, 10 Friendlys 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, Northeast, and Midwest. That year, a food processing and distribution plant opened in Troy, Ohio.[1]

Friendly's in Unionville, Connecticut in March 2008 (closed in December 2014)

In 1979, the Blake brothers retired and sold 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, as of 2018

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

Also in 1997, Friendly's exited the Pittsburgh market after an unsuccessful few-year stint, closing all six restaurants, which were sold and converted to Bob Evans by the spring of 1998.[citation needed]

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[when?], about 50% of its restaurants are franchise-owned.[citation needed] 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.[7] 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.[citation needed]

On February 10, 2012, Harsha V. Agadi stepped down as chief executive officer. Agadi invested his own money in the company and remains on the board of directors.[8]

On April 12, 2012, Friendly's announced that John M. Maguire had been named chief executive officer of the company.[5]

On November 25, 2014, it was announced that all 14 of the Friendly's locations in Ohio would be closed.[9]

On June 20, 2016, Dean Foods announced the acquisition of Friendly's Ice Cream for $155 million. This did not change the ownership of the restaurants, as Sun Capital Partners continues to run the currently existing locations.[10][11]

In early 2018, Friendly's opened a new "prototype" restaurant at the Apex Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts, to test delivery, catering, online ordering and a revised menu.[12]

Friendly's abruptly closed most of their locations in upstate New York on April 7, 2019.[13] Several locations in New England were also among the closures.[14]

Co-founder Curtis Blake died on May 24, 2019, at the age of 102.[15]

On August 19, 2019, Friendly's closed its North Providence location, its last in Rhode Island.[16]

In early October 2019, the last remaining restaurant in Virginia closed. It was located in Chester, Virginia.[citation needed]

Co-founder S. Prestley Blake died on February 11, 2021, at the age of 106.[17]


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.[18][19] The company had secured more than $71 million in debtor-in-possession financing to keep it afloat during bankruptcy proceedings.[19] 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.[20] On November 1, 2011, the US Bankruptcy Court gave Friendly's permission to sell the company at an auction on December 22, 2011.[21]

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.[22] Sun Capital paid about $75 million and retained ownership through its affiliate.[23] On January 9, 2012, Friendly's announced that it would emerge from bankruptcy protection, but close 37 more locations.[24]

On November 12, 2019, the grocery division of Friendly's, amongst all other associates of its parent company, Dean Foods, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[25][26]

On November 1, 2020, Friendly's announced that it would file for chapter 11 once more and sell "substantially all its assets" to Amici Partners—an affiliate of Brix Holdings—for $2 million, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The company stated that "nearly all" of its locations would remain open, although some closures (including a location near Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut) were announced.[27][28]

Acquisition by Amici Partners Group

On January 19, 2021, it was announced that Friendly's was acquired by Amici Partners Group, LLC, a group made of experienced restaurant investors and operators with national and international restaurant franchisor background. Amici has acquired 130 corporate-owned and franchised restaurant locations with plans to keep all locations open.[29][30]

Legal issues

In 2003, Prestley Blake 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 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.[31]


  • "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)[32]
  • "Oh, that looks good!" (2010–2011)
  • "High 5, it's Friendly's!" (2011–2012)
  • "Oh yeah!" (2012–2013)
  • "Where ice cream makes the meal" (current)
  • "Creating memories since 1935" (2015)
  • "Life with extra sprinkles" (current)
  • "Deliciously fun" (current)


  1. ^ a b "Friendly's Official History". Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved July 12, 2006.
  2. ^ "Restaurant Locator · Friendly's". Friendly's. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "Citing changing neighborhoods, Friendly's continues to pare restaurant network with shutdown of last Rhode Island location". MASS LIVE. August 20, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  4. ^ "Friendly's". NRN. September 13, 2018. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Friendly's". Friendlys. April 18, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  6. ^ Uhle, Frank (2001). "Friendly Ice Cream Corporation". International Directory of Company Histories.
  7. ^ "Shareholders approve Friendly sale". August 30, 2007.[dead link]
  8. ^ Abelson, Jenn (February 9, 2012). "Friendly's CEO stepping down". Retrieved February 13, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Byrd, Katie (November 26, 2014). "Friendly's ice cream chain melts away in Ohio, closing all locations". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  10. ^ "Dean Foods - Press Release". Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  11. ^ Friendly's sells retail ice cream and manufacturing, new owner promises to keep Wilbraham factory Jim Kinney,, May 10, 2016
  12. ^ "Friendly's of the future: Chain touts delivery, catering, throwback menu in latest rebranding effort". MASS LIVE. April 5, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  13. ^ Doran, Elizabeth (April 8, 2019). "Several Syracuse-area Friendly's restaurants close abruptly". The Post-Standard. Retrieved April 8, 2019.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "Friendly's closes Keene eatery". The Sentinel-Source. April 8, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  15. ^ "Friendly's Ice Cream cofounder Curtis L. Blake dies at 102". May 26, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Citing changing neighborhoods, Friendly's continues to pare restaurant network with shutdown of last Rhode Island location". MASS LIVE. August 20, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  17. ^ "Friendly's Co-Founder S. Prestley Blake Dies At 106". Ellington-Somers, CT Patch. February 12, 2021. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  18. ^ Abelson, Jenn; Reidy, Chris (October 5, 2011). "Friendly's closes 63 stores as ice cream chain files for bankruptcy". Retrieved February 13, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ a b Lamar, Mia; Palank, Jacqueline (October 6, 2011). "Friendly's Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  20. ^ Abelson, Jenn (December 15, 2011). "Pension agency settles with Friendly's". Retrieved February 13, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ Bathon, Michael (November 2, 2011). "Friendly's gets OK for asset auction". Retrieved May 16, 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Bathon, Michael (December 21, 2011). "Friendly Cancels Auction as No Bidders Challenge Sun Capital". Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  23. ^ Abelson, Jenn (December 22, 2011). "Friendly Ice Cream cancels auction". Retrieved May 16, 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ Abelson, Jenn (January 9, 2012). "Friendly's Ice Cream out of bankruptcy, but closes another 37 stores, including 10 in Mass". Retrieved February 13, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ "Friendly's ice cream parent owner files for bankruptcy". WCVB. November 13, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019. 'Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient, we continue to be impacted by a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption,' said Eric Beringause, who recently joined Dean Foods as president and chief executive officer.
  26. ^ Jordan Valinsky (November 12, 2019). "America's largest milk producer files for bankruptcy". CNN. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  27. ^ Valinsky, Jordan (November 2, 2020). "Friendly's files for bankruptcy and puts itself up for sale". CNN Business. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  28. ^ Alexander Soule (November 2, 2020). "Friendly's to close at CT tourist magnet in bankruptcy sale". New Haven Register. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  29. ^ "Amici Partners Group Acquires Friendly's Restaurants Amici Partners Group Acquires Friendly's Restaurants" (Press release). Cision PR Newswire. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  30. ^ Hollan, Michael (January 19, 2021). "Friendly's sale to restaurant group finalized". Fox Business. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  31. ^ "Friendly's Ice Cream". Blue MauMau franchise news for the franchisee. Archived from the original on August 2, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  32. ^ SuperManga64 (March 22, 2009), I wanna go to Friendlys, archived from the original on December 13, 2021, retrieved July 2, 2016

External links