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FoundedSpringfield, Massachusetts (1935; 85 years ago (1935))[1]
HeadquartersWilbraham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Number of locations
Key people
George Michel (CEO)[3]
ProductsSandwiches, burgers, salads, soups, breakfast foods, ice cream, hot dogs
Number of employees
ParentDean Foods (dairy products)
Sun Capital Partners (restaurants)

Friendly's is a restaurant chain on the United States' East Coast. Friendly's was founded in 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts, by the Blake brothers S. Prestley Blake and Curtis Blake. It has 10,000 employees; George Michel is the CEO.[4] It offers as 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 167 Friendly's are spread across Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Vermont.


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.[5]

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

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. 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.

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

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.[6] 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.

On February 10, 2012, Harsha V. 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.[7]

On April 12, 2012, Friendly's announced that John M. Maguire had been named chief executive officer of the company.[4]

On November 25, 2014 it was announced that all 14 of the Friendly's locations in Ohio would be closing.[8]

In May 2016, Sun Capital sold Friendly's ice cream manufacturing business and trademark (which will be leased back) to Dean Foods for $155 million.

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.[9][10]

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.[11]

Friendly's abruptly closed most of their locations in upstate New York April 7, 2019.[12] Several locations in New England were also among the closures.[13]

Co-founder Curtis Blake died on May 24, 2019 at the age of 102.[14]

On August 19, 2019, Friendly's closed its North Providence location, its last in Rhode Island.[15]

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


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.[16][17] The company had secured more than $71 million in debtor-in-possession financing to keep it afloat during bankruptcy proceedings.[17] 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.[18] On November 1, 2011, the US Bankruptcy Court gave Friendly's permission to sell the company at an auction on December 22, 2011.[19] 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.[20] Sun Capital paid about $75 million and retained ownership through its affiliate.[21]

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.[22] Friendly's has closed about 100 stores since filing for bankruptcy protection in October 2011.[22]

Southern Foods Group, LLC d/b/a Dean Foods, and forty-two (42) affiliated companies, including Friendly's, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on November 12, 2019 as case number 19-36313.

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 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.[23]


  • "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)[24]
  • "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. ^ "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.
  3. ^ "Friendly's". NRN. September 13, 2018. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Friendly's". Friendlys. April 18, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  5. ^ Uhle, Frank (2001). "Friendly Ice Cream Corporation". International Directory of Company Histories.
  6. ^ "Shareholders approve Friendly sale". August 30, 2007.[dead link]
  7. ^ "Friendly's CEO stepping down". February 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.[dead link]
  8. ^ Byrd, Katie (November 26, 2014). "Friendly's ice cream chain melts away in Ohio, closing all locations". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  9. ^ "Dean Foods - Press Release".
  10. ^ Friendly's sells retail ice cream and manufacturing, new owner promises to keep Wilbraham factory Jim Kinney,, May 10, 2016
  11. ^ "Friendly's of the future: Chain touts delivery, catering, throwback menu in latest rebranding effort". MASS LIVE. April 5, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  12. ^ Doran, Elizabeth (April 8, 2019). "Several Syracuse-area Friendly's restaurants close abruptly". THe Post-Standard. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Friendly's closes Keene eatery". The Sentinel-Source. April 8, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  14. ^ Curtis Blake-obituary
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "Friendly's closes 63 stores as ice cream chain files for bankruptcy". October 2011. Retrieved May 16, 2012.[dead link]
  17. ^ a b Lamar, Mia; Palank, Jacqueline (October 6, 2011). "Friendly's Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  18. ^ "Pension agency settles with Friendly's". December 2011. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  19. ^ Bathon, Michael (November 2, 2011). "Friendly's gets OK for asset auction". Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Abelson, Jenn (December 22, 2011). "Friendly Ice Cream cancels auction". Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Friendly's Ice Cream out of bankruptcy, but closes another 37 stores, including 10 in Mass". January 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.[dead link]
  23. ^ "Friendly's Ice Cream". Blue MauMau franchise news for the franchisee. Archived from the original on August 2, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  24. ^ SuperManga64 (March 22, 2009), I wanna go to Friendlys, retrieved July 2, 2016

External links