The Boston Business Journal reports Friendly's latest attempt to redefine itself and stay alive involves switching the kind of ice cream used to make Fribbles from soft to hard.
The Friendly’s Fribble has real ice cream once again, MassLive reports.
Oh, who cares? What's been killing Friendly's for the past decade isn't the food, or the decor. It's the service. Maybe if they can figure out how to serve fast food fast instead of agonizingly slow, they might have a shot. They shut the Friendly's in West Roxbury (West Roxbury! Can you think of a neighborhood more quintessentially Friendly's than West Roxbury?) and then the one in Dedham, because people finally got tired of waiting forever for service. Well, maybe there is hope:
Employees all had to re-interview and be rehired for their jobs and had to be retrained with an eye toward faster service and a cleaner, more pleasant restaurant.
Friendly's makes it official, files for bankruptcy again, shuts 30 Massachusetts restaurants, including the one in Dedham, which would make me sad if only we hadn't stopped going there because the service consistently sucked.
The Wall Street Journal gets the scoop: Cheap food served slow no longer cutting it.
Opens a "Friendly's Express" in Mansfield that allegedly serves up food at the same speed as normal restaurants, instead of at the glacial pace most Friendly's customers have learned to expect, Channel 4 reports.
Some Florida holding company is buying Friendly's for $337 million. I heard the Friendly's CEO on 'BZ this morning explaining that the purchase won't affect the chain's operations, which is great news for people who like long waits for so-so food and who enjoy listening to short-staffed workers get short tempered with each other.
Working as a waitress, not the best of jobs in any way, less so when you work as a waitress in an out of the way strip mall, in an old style family restaurant, where table cloths are considered extras.
There is an old Friendlyâ€™s restaurant in the strip mall near me. From back when Friendlyâ€™s made no pretense of being a real restaurant, when a strip mall pretended to be an upscale mall. Back when Friendlyâ€™s was nothing but a neighborhood ice cream shop, with tables as old as the strip mall, and a wait staff older still.
And the wait staff there is old, old enough to not still be working, old enough for me to expect they are only supplementing their social security incomes. Yet by the look of them, they never had much in the way of income.
It hasn't been a good year for old-time Westie institutions along Centre Street. Slyne's, Yoo Hoo's, Hanley's, the bowling alley, and now Friendly's - all gone. OK, granted, the Real Deal is way superior to Slyne's and the service at Friendly's could charitably be described as "glacial" (to the point where, if we HAD to go to Friendly's, I'd lobby for the one in Dedham), but still, where ya gonna go bowling and get a cone afterwards? Short of driving to Ron's Gourmet Ice Cream and Bowling in Hyde Park, that is.
The next time I begin to relent and agree to take my daughter to the West Roxbury Friendly's for lunch, could somebody rush over and slap me in the face and remind me what happened today (25 minutes after we ordered, our food to show up; seems somebody up front cancelled the order), so I never make that mistake again?