New Jersey’s Friendly’s Future Uncertain After Ownership Change
I've loved Friendly's from my childhood to my adulthood. As a kid, it was the place everyone in our family could agree on. If we were lucky enough to eat out, we all wanted Friendly's. There was no other universal choice. When my 6th grade Police Athletic League team won the championship game, we went to Friendly's. The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae was my favorite...still is. Business was BOOMING for Friendly's, or appeared to be. In the 1990s, they had over 800 restaurants. Today they're down to 130 restaurants with just 2 at the Jersey Shore, both in Toms River. It's been sad to see. Could the downslide continue? Or is the revitalization about to begin? MAYBE. Here's why:
As you may have guessed by my opening paragraph, Friendly's has been sold!
Press Release: "Amici Partners Group, LLC ("Amici"), an entity comprised of experienced restaurant investors and operators who have been involved with some of the best-known QSR and casual dining chains for more than 25 years, has completed the acquisition of Friendly's Restaurants." Full press release available here.
Back in November of 2020, FIC Restaurants agreed to sell Friendly's and now with the transaction official, there's reason to be optimistic. After decades of business decline, closings of restaurants, and changes in leadership, I'm hopeful. My family, including my 10-year old and 1-year old, LOVES Friendly's on Hooper Avenue in Toms River. Who knows, MAYBE there will be MORE Friendly's restaurants throughout Ocean and Monmouth counties. Let me explain.
The folks that purchased Friendly's are long-time fans, loyal customers, and investors. Their President and CEO Craig Erlich states, "Friendly's holds a special place in the hearts of its many loyal patrons, and we look forward to nurturing that legacy and creating new programs and menu items to meet the changing needs of our customers." AND... the company insists they plan "to continue to keep all locations open, delighting guests and preserving thousands of restaurant-workers' jobs." SCORE!
Now, they are a business and they'll have to find ways to improve efficiency and profitability. Perhaps we can offer some suggestions? What do YOU think they can do to give you a better experience and get you to come back more often? Click below to join us on Facebook and share YOUR thoughts.