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When Times are Tough So is Friendly’s

If you haven’t watched the news, costs at the grocery store are skyrocketing. The fed is talking about raising interest rates. Supply shortages in just about every industry are a real thing. And if you want to get the attention of Congress, just raise gas prices.

The average American family is feeling the pain. And that’s exactly why one restaurant chain says now is the time to be extra Friendly’s.

Friendly’s just launched 12 new items on its menu. Yes, 12 new items! That represents some of the biggest menu innovation in the history of the chain at the very same time that Americans need a little love. And, boy, are they hungry for it.

Just when people are returning to the office and have even less time to cook dinner at home, delicious food and great portions that won’t break the bank look like the perfect recipe for a trip to Friendly’s. Plus, it all comes with a very sweet reward. All guests will receive a free medium sundae alongside the purchase of new items through April 30. How’s that for a real treat in these tough times? Dessert is on the house!

As the third-oldest restaurant chain in the country, Friendly’s knows a thing or two about persevering through economic hard times for fans. As a matter of fact, that long track record helps explain the brand’s understanding that timing, indeed, is everything. Founded in 1935, this is one restaurant with a name that speaks volumes to people when they are in need of something wholesome and good.

So how exactly does Friendly’s debut historic menu innovation when the industry at-large is just trying to survive? Recently, the U.S. House passed a bill for $40 million in COVID assistance to restaurant owners who tried but failed last year to receive help from the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund that quickly ran out of money. Meanwhile, the media is running headlines about Friendly’s and its “Constant Innovation.” One look at the growing leadership team under CEO Craig Erlich hints at the answers.

For example, a peek into the test kitchen reveals a tasty addition with Roberto De Angelis, the new Chief Experience Officer, cooking up some of the difference. Stir his national reputation and talents into a brand with long-standing suppliers over many decades, and the results look totally inviting.

De Angelis has done a masterful job at taking existing ingredients on the menu and reworking them to unleash a food frenzy that now has the media buzzing. Thrillist said, “It will be hard to choose which new item to try first.” Mashed added “there are new tasty additions fans of the restaurant chain can get excited about.” [Doritos Cool Ranch Burger, we’re looking at you!] FSR Magazine even said it will grow the audience, stating, “The revamped menu signals a new era for the iconic brand, appealing to a younger clientele while still catering to longtime guests.”

Wow. A bigger crowd in love with Friendly’s? One of the oldest chains in America has people talking…in a good way. And sidenote to all the marketing gurus out there, memberships in Friendly’s Sweet Rewards Club loyalty program are climbing as well.

Chalk it up to the latest new development for one very well-known brand under the expert ownership of Amici Partners Group. Since acquiring the chain in what QSR Magazine called one of the “22 Restaurant Deals That Changed the Industry in 2021,” the investment in and protection of the beloved brand is nothing short of amazing. It’s even been called a turnaround – another term that’s in short supply these days.

Watching it all unfold in the shadow of a global pandemic helps explain why people are nostalgic for a place they’ve loved since childhood.

Management spent the last year buttoning up operations, sprucing up locations, updating uniforms and doubling down on technology. Last month they even launched a fast-casual prototype (Friendly’s Café) that signals a real commitment to Friendly’s in an otherwise not-so-friendly time for the world at-large.

For all the ice cream lovers out there, the position of Friendly’s in the overall restaurant industry could very well be the cherry on top in 2022.



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