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Friendly’s Has Been Sold

The iconic Massachusetts-based ice cream chain, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2020, has new owners

Friendly’s restaurant...
Friendly’s has been sold
Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Friendly’s restaurants has been sold. The Western Massachusetts-based Friendly Ice Cream Corporation was acquired by Amici Partners Group, a Connecticut-based investor group affiliated with Brix Holdings, the restaurant company behind Red Mango, Smoothie Factory, Souper Salad, and other franchises.

“The investors of Amici Partners Group, LLC have been involved with the Friendly’s Restaurant brand in many capacities over the years, not only as owners/operators and leaders in the system, but also as longtime loyal customers of this iconic brand,” Craig Erlich, president and CEO of Amici Partners, said in a statement Tuesday. “Based on our personal connection to the chain, strong investment capabilities, and seasoned management team, we believe we will be able to continue to reinvigorate this much-loved brand for both loyal patrons and new customers alike.”

The sale comes several months after Friendly’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced its intentions to sell to Amici Partners Group. At the time, Restaurant Business reported that the selling price would fall just under $2 million, an astoundingly low number for a chain that boasted more than 500 locations a decade ago.

The company, which was founded in 1935 by brothers S. Prestley Blake and Curtis Blake, has changed hands many times over the years, most notably in 1979 when it was sold to Hershey Foods.

Once a wildly popular spot for burgers, patty melts, grilled cheese sandwiches, and its seemingly endless list of ice cream creations, Friendly’s has faltered in recent years. More than 300 locations have shuttered in the past decade, and today the chain consists of just 130 franchised and corporate-owned locations. Staff at corporate-owned locations are expected to keep their jobs; staffing decisions at franchised locations are made by individual franchisees.

The Friendly’s retail ice cream and manufacturing business was sold in 2016 to Texas-based Dean Foods Co. in 2016 for $155 million.

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