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Friendly’s files for bankruptcy

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Friendly’s files for bankruptcy

Post  Betep on Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:29 pm

From the Boston Herald:
Friendly’s files for bankruptcy, closes 30 Mass. restaurants

By Boston Herald staff
Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Friendly Ice Cream Corp. has filed for bankruptcy and announced plans this morning to close 63 of its 487 restaurants.

The list of underperforming restaurants that will be shuttered includes 30 Friendly’s locations in Massachusetts.

The Wilbraham-based chain said it has secured about $70 million in so-called debtor-in-possession financing to help keep the business going during the Chapter 11 reorganization.

Friendly’s said it will try to quickly restructure the company through a sale in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware -- “and emerge stronger and more competitive.”

The 76-year-old family dining chain employs about 10,000 people. The company was acquired four years ago by Sun Capital Partners, a Florida-based private equity firm.
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See article for listing of closed restaurants.
Bummer, but they lost the initial focus.

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Re: Friendly’s files for bankruptcy

Post  mermaid on Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:47 pm

The last few times I went there I felt they needed to change their name to `Meanies`
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Re: Friendly’s files for bankruptcy

Post  Betep on Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:43 am

Longtime Friendly's melts under pressure
By STEVE DOANE
sdoane@capecodonline.com
October 06, 2011

WEST HARWICH — The tidy brick building yards from the Harwich-Dennis line on Route 28 still looked ready for business. Above the well-manicured lawn, the signature red sign with the signature looped "F" still hawked the comfort food that made the chain famous.

A closer look, though, revealed something was amiss on Wednesday at this Friendly's restaurant.

On the door hung a sign announcing to potential patrons that the eatery had been permanently closed after more than 35 years, and it wasn't alone.

The parent of the Friendly's restaurant chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday and said that it has already closed 63 of its eateries. Thirty of those closings were in Massachusetts, including West Harwich and Wareham, resulting in about 1,260 jobs lost.

The Friendly's on Route 132 in Hyannis and on Davis Straits in Falmouth were not on the closing list.

In West Harwich, the closure marked the end of an era for the restaurant. The franchise opened in 1975, according to building permits, and had operated consistently since then.

While an employee who answered the door on Wednesday deferred comment to the corporate office, others in the community opened up about the restaurant.

The closure hit close to home for Harwich Health Director Pamela Champagne.

"I grew up in Western Massachusetts and it was an institution out there," she said. "Friendly's is near and dear to our hearts."

For neighboring businesses, the news came as a mild surprise, but not a downright shock, given the rocky economic conditions.

Across the street at Harwich Antiques, proprietor Stephen Arre said he'd been to Friendly's for lunch a few times, but wasn't a frequent patron.

"I'm surprised, though I've never really seen the parking lot really full," he said.

Across the counter, Pat Arre lamented the overall state of the local economy.

"You hate to see another business go down on the Cape," she said.

At Fishing the Cape, a sportfishing retailer across the street from the restaurant, manager Chris Kokorda said he'd heard about the bankruptcy but didn't know the closings would happen so close to home.

"I saw it on the news this morning and had no idea," he said. "I'd been there a few times. It's nice ... it's a Friendly's, so it's standard."

The Wilbraham-based company is known for ice cream, hamburgers and its Fribble shakes.

The economic downturn coupled with higher costs and high rents drove the 76-year-old company to file for bankruptcy protection.

"The strategic decision to pursue a financial restructuring will allow us to proactively and quickly improve our financial position," said CEO Harsha V. Agadi.

Friendly Ice Cream Corp. said it had secured $70 million in financing and that its 424 remaining restaurants will stay open and pay salaries and benefits as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. Friendly's now employs about 9,000 workers.

Its current owners, Sun Capital Partners, will be the lead bidders in an auction process.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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I think I went there. West Yarmouth, South Yarmouth, Mall, Hyannis and some Off-Cape locations too.
When I was a kid, a Fish-a-ma-jig sandwich and Lime Sherbet Cooler was enough to placate me during a shopping run.

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