The Wall Street Journal gets the scoop: Cheap food served slow no longer cutting it.
. . . good memories of Friendly's. Sad to see them go.
I would agree, but I've been there maybe once or twice in the last 8 years and the food got really, really bad.
- about the same frequency of Friendly's visits with me. But I remember their tuna club with bacon strips and fries fondly- also their frappes.
Their website has a tab called "moms" under which they have advice about motivating kids and such. Yes, because apparently the only people doing caregiving of children are "moms."
It is refreshing to hear a woman bring this up. Thank you.
Slow yes. And most of it's as greasy as things can get without being hit with the gasoline tax.
Their $5 burger, fries and sundae deal was still one of the best in the industry. Just had it a few weeks ago in Watertown. That said, their food menu was a mess, their sandwiches looked awful and their foray into non-alcohol tropical drinks was ill-advised at best.
Sadly, most folks have become accustomed to having a bar with their casual dining experience. The fat-shack chains all have them, diners have them. The only places that don't are Denny's, Friendly's, Waffle House and IHOP. The key difference? Friendly's isn't known for breakfast.
Lots of great memories, Friendly's. Sorry the cheapskates and boozebags hated you.
I fondly remember the mid 70's when Friendly (back then it wasn't "Friendly's") introduced their "Grand Awakening" breakfast. My dad would order "the Rude Awakening".
My brother worked in about 5 different Friendly restaurants in those years. So I'll miss those memories.
The last time I ate at a Friendly's my son projectile-vomited all over the floor. He actually did that at two different Friendly's (I know, "fool me once...") We haven't been back.
The only thing I'll really miss is the shrubbery entering Wilbraham on The Pike.
If I'm going to go get mediocre food, I want some awesome drinks to go with it. TGI Friday's for the win!
I'll have to find one and get my Fribble on later today, but who goes there to eat?
...and this only occurs when I'm there because other people wanted to go.
The place has NOTHING vegetarian. And I'm not even remotely a health-food nut when I go out. I'm happy to eat veggie burgers, greasy pizza, crappy burritos, etc. But no, nothing of the sort there. The other mediocre American restaurants all have vegetarian stuff. Really, how hard is it for a place that serves burgers to have a case of veggie patties in the freezer? Burger King even has them, for fuck's sake.
If the bankruptcy moves at the same pace as the service, it could take decades.
As a kid, I did love the Fribble.
This has got to be the most drawn out, slow, painful decline in restaurant chain history. I can't remember when people weren't talking about how it wasn't as good as it used to be. What kept them hanging on so long?
Are there any others that come close? Maybe Howard Johnson's restaurants?
Brigham's had kind of a slow, sad death also. I remember when there were so many Brigham's in Boston that it rivaled Starbucks for sheer number of locations. By 2009 there was that last pathetic one on High Street which finally closed. I was there shortly before it's unexpected departure and was apalled at how bad the food was. I used to like Brigham's (for what it was) in the 70s. Kind of Americana. Like the old lunch counters in Woolworth's and Grants.
Definitely in Arlington Heights, I think also in Belmont, and a few scattered others. They aren't really a chain anymore, each remaining restaurant having gone its own way.
They were waiting for a Fribble and a grilled cheese sandwich.
The bankruptcy will take 20x longer than it should and their creditors will find the bargaining table mysteriously sticky. Also, children will throw things at them from across the room while juicing up a sugar high on an upside down sundae with far too much chocolate syrup to even see the ice cream.
This was funny. Nice work. The bankruptcy filing itself isn't such a bad thing, as bankruptcy helps many companies restrucutre and get back on their feet. However, the bankrtupcy and proposed sale of the company has an ominous ring to it. Sounds less like reorganization and more like liquidation.
generally isn't something you want to have happen to your ice cream.
and haven't missed it at all.
...of Friendly's is most likely attributable to the turnover in ownership & dilution of control. As I recall, the retirement of the founding brothers led to the first sale to Hershey's. They owned it for most of the 80's, then sold it to a restaurant group. That group in turn sold off some of the restaurants to another group. Both owners then decided to switch to a franchise system to spur expansion. The last sale was about 5 yrs ago to a private equity group. At one point in the 90's, I believe members of the founding family tried to put together a group of investors to buy the company back.
My memories of Friendly's go back to the time when the Fribble was known as the Awful Awful ("Awfully Big! Awfully Good!"). I also have fond memories of the Friendly Burger which was served on toast.
Yup. years of ownership transfers, which means loss of direction for companies. Every time a new owner takes over, they try something new (that fails). (or just doesn't take off).
Then throw in some bad PR (i.e. the Arlington Hep outbreak) and stores being closed due to health department inspections. And for the cherry on top, dirty stores, poor service, bad food. Its just a failing combination.
The other problem is, the 70s and 80s, Friendly's had little competition. Today there's Denny's, IHOP, Applebees, and a million other sit down chain restaurant, Friendly's lost its edge. Plus we're more health conscious these days, and let's face it, Friendlys food isnt much better, health-wise, than eating at McDonalds. (its all fatty grilled or fried foods).
As a child in NH, my parents used to take us to visit our grandparents in CT. This required a drive down Interstate 91. We *always* stopped at Friendlys in Greenfield because it was half way, and decent food and good service. It's still that way (we stopped on our way last year). Why? because its a high volume store, and its RIGHT next to the highway, and from what a former Friendlys GM told me, its a Corporate Owned store, so it's always held to the highest standards. Its also one of the busiest in the chain because of its proixmity to the highway.
But when I moved here, I ate a couple of Friendlys around here.. all I have to say is GROSS. Dirty stores that havent been updated since the 70s. Service that sucked, and food that was so so. I've yet to go to one in this area that doesn't suck.
It really is sad because Friendly's could be a nice chain if they revamped the menu, remodeled older stores, retrain or hire new staff, and started yanking franchise agreements from franchisers who are running sub-par stores that don't meet corporate standards. However because years of neglect from management, and years of bad experiences by customers, people would be hard pressed to give back and give it another try.
I thought the Friendlys Express idea would have taken off since it refocused on their core products, but apparently Sun Capital didn't want to invest the time or the money into it. It might have saved it.
We can only hope that if they liquidate, Hood or some other ice cream manufacturer buys the rights to the ice cream sold in supermarkets, because that hasn't changed. Funny, I think wholesale ice cream manufacturing is what has kept the chain alive all this time.. its certianly not the stores.
In fact, I think Denny's was bigger then than now -- the only one I knew of around here, on Routes 4/225 in Lexington, has closed.
The closest one is in Lawrence.
on Route 28 at the Stoneham/Reading line that closed several years ago - it's now a "99".
It was signed off of I-95 (128) north, but you had to take the Route 28 Southbound exit and make an awkward U turn at the first intersection to get to the place.
I used to eat at Dennys often when traveling, unless there was a Perkins available (they have a similar menu, but somewhat better quality and faster service than Dennys). My favorite Dennys story happened several years ago in Washington, PA (on the West Virginia border). As I was finishing my meal, the waitress came over and insisted - not suggested - that I had to purchase something for dessert.
Why was she so insistent on the matter? She showed me the check for my meal (before I ordered dessert) - it came to $6.66.
IHOP was certainly around, but I never saw a Denny's until I went to Georgia in 1995. Whereas Friendly's was everywhere around Boston.
I think my point is just general over saturated with casual sit down places.
We also can't forget Bickfords in the mix too.
But also, Friendlys, unlike Bickfords or IHOP, doesn't serve breakfast all day.
Bickfords went belly up awhile ago.
Was this in Rhode Island? I thought that is what old school people called frappes/shakes there in general?
that isn't a Friendly's slogan or product. It belongs to Newport Creamery in Rhode Island.
.. a Friendly's product. Newport Creamery either sued or lodged a formal protest with Friendly's & they changed the name to Fribble. Though the name "Awful Awful" is associated with Rhode Island, it seems to have been in use in other parts of the Eastern Seaboard as well:
Their chocolate and chocolate chip ice cream is still worth the drive and their breakfasts still are a pretty good deal for the money. Few places anymore give you a pot of coffee.
Sad, that it finds itself in such dire financial straits. Most posters have fond childhood memories of Friendly's as do I. Hopefully, reorganization will be a positive step towards for the future for Friendlys.
Going the way of Bailey's . . .