Founded during the height of the Great Depression, Friendly's restaurants were founded by brothers Prestley and Curtis Blake in Springfield, Massachusetts selling double-dip ice cream cones for 5 cents each. By 1974 there were 500 restaurant locations spread across the east coast including New York, Delaware, Maine, and Pennsylvania. People loved Friendly ice cream, however, in early 2011, the restaurant chain filed for bankruptcy protection due to a tough economic environment. Now, Friendly's is once again seeking chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to the catastrophic impact of COVID-19.
Friendly's Files for Bankruptcy Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Known for its sundaes and Friend-z blends, Friendly's Ice Cream has been a favorite of customers for decades. According to Masslive, "Amici Partners Group, a Connecticut-based entity of restaurant operators and investors, will buy "substantially all" of Friendly's assets, the company said of the sale." Currently, there are 130 franchised and corporate-owned Friendly's locations and they plan to stay open during the sale. The Amici Partners Group also shared it has enough cash on hand to meet its obligations to restaurant team members, franchisees, and vendors, and ensure a seamless transition." The dining chain was sold for a low price of $2 million dollars.
"Over the last two years, Friendly's has made important strides toward reinvigorating our beloved brand in the face of shifting demographics, increased competition, and rising costs," said George Michel, CEO of FIC Restaurants. "We achieved this by delivering menu innovation, re-energizing marketing, focusing on take-out, catering and third-party delivery, establishing a better overall experience for customers, and working closely with our franchisees and restaurant teams. Unfortunately, like many restaurant businesses, our progress was suddenly interrupted by the catastrophic impact of COVID-19, which caused a decline in revenue as dine-in operations ceased for months and re-opened with limited capacity."
The East Coast restaurant chain is one of many businesses that announced a voluntary bankruptcy filing this year. Restaurant chains such as Chuck E. Cheese, California Pizza Kitchen. Ruby Tuesday, and Sizzler have all filed for bankruptcy court this year due to the Coronavirus. Is another restaurant chain next?