“While this was a tough decision, we are confident it will best position the brand for a bright future,” the brand’s interim CEO wrote to franchisees.
Friendly’s has closed 23 corporate-owned restaurants in an effort to refocus resources and overhaul the brand for today’s consumer, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. The closures include 14 units in New York, three in Massachusetts, three in Connecticut, two in New Hampshire and one in Maine.
Eleven years ago, Friendly’s boasted 505 locations; now, with around half of the remaining 174 units franchised, Friendly’s is working to address shifting preferences and demographics, as well as increased competition and operating costs. The legacy brand is planning to dip its toes in delivery and catering while brightening up restaurant interiors and updating its menu with “new and innovative food and ice cream offerings.”
Nation’s Restaurant News points out that other long-standing casual- and family-dining chains, such as Marie Callender’s and Ruby Tuesday, have been struggling to stay relevant in recent years while independent competitors and fast-casual chains have dominated the market for next-generation diners.
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