The shuttered Friendly’s restaurants were all corporate-owned and were located in New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The restaurant chain has 97 franchisee-owned restaurants and 77 corporate-owned restaurants still in operation.
In a letter to franchisees, Friendly’s CEO George Michel said the decision was made after a lengthy review to “chart a successful course forward in the face of shifting customer preferences, increased competition and rising costs.” Known for a menu that offers ice cream sundaes and diner-style fare such as cheeseburgers, Friendly’s has struggled to maintain sales as consumers shift toward healthier options.
“As we mentioned earlier this year, we initiated a strategic assessment of our corporate-owned restaurant footprint, with an eye toward ongoing viability and maximizing resource investment,” Michael said in the letter, obtained by Restaurant Business Online.
Of the 23 closures, 14 occurred in New York, 3 each in Connecticut and New Hampshire, two in Massachusetts and one in Maine.
Friendly’s has closed 57 locations since 2017. The privately-owned chain’s sales sank 11 percent to $248 million last year, according to research firm Technomic.