WESTFIELD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – Some big changes could soon be coming to Friendly’s locations across the state.
If there’s one thing for certain, the pandemic has impacted the restaurant industry by forcing it to shift its focus on different service options.
“Prior to the pandemic, off-premise dining, carryout, and delivery was only about 10 percent of the business,” Friendly’s President and CEO Craig Erlich told the Boston Globe. “The pandemic changed all that.”
In response to this shift, Erlich is working on rebranding his franchise to create a fast and casual atmosphere at all restaurant locations.
The new vision is called “Friendly’s Café” and will see the classic food chain take on a modern facelift. At these locations people can order at the counter, be served at their table to sit wherever they choose and order from their phone including Friendly’s signature ice cream.
“We have a flavor now called Nutty Buddy which it really delicious,” Erlich said. “If all goes well as expected, we certainly have a growth plan.”
The new venture comes after Friendly’s filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011 and closed multiple locations in response. The Globe reports that in 2020, the company that operated Friendly’s, FIC Restaurants, Inc., announced a plan to sell most of its assets to Amici Partners Group, LLC., which runs many casual-dining chains.
Erlich says their first location is set to open in Westfield in just a couple of weeks and while it may feature these updates, they will still be reminiscent of people’s childhood memories.
WBZ’s Matt Shearer (@MattWBZ) has more: