WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WWLP) – FIC Restaurants, the parent company that runs Friendly’s restaurants, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but that doesn’t mean the iconic local chain of eateries is going away.
The company made the announcement in a news release late Sunday night, saying that they plan to sell their assets to Amici Partners Group. Amici is made up of experienced restaurant investors and operators.
Under the plan, nearly all 130 Friendly’s restaurants, whether corporate-owned or franchised, will remain open under current COVID-19 protocols. Amici expects to keep nearly all employees who work at corporate-owned locations.
The Wilbraham-based chain of restaurants has seen its number of locations decline sharply in past years, from more than 500 restaurants to their current chain of 130. The company’s CEO, George Michel, says they have made progress toward re-invigorating their brand in the past couple years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has hit them hard, much like it has other restaurant businesses.
“We believe the voluntary bankruptcy filing and planned sale to a new, deeply experienced restaurant group will enable Friendly’s to rebound from the pandemic as a stronger business, with the leadership and resources needed to continue to invest in the business and serve loyal patrons, as well as to compete to win new customers over the long-term,” Michel said.
The plan does not affect Friendly’s ice cream manufacturing business, which is separately-owned.