Having lived in New England for more than a decade, I've become attached to certain icons such as Dunkin Donuts, Kelly's Roast Beef, Legal Sea Foods, and Friendly's. So I was certainly sad to learn that Friendly's would be filing for bankruptcy protection.
So what happened? Successful enterprises typically have some strategic aspect that pulls in their clientele on a regular basis. Location can clearly play a role, but there needs to be a little something about the food or experience that resonates with the consumer.
Friendly's has a lot going for it. They are not hard to find, reasonably priced and of course they have good ice cream. But apparently that's not enough for overall success.
As the company reorganizes, it is great opportunity for them to really seek out answers. In the high performing locations what is it that consumers really like? What triggers a trip to Friendly's? Do consumer get the same experience as they visit different stores? Why do some people in the target demographic not try Friendly's? What was their last experience like? What could Friendly's change that would make people visit more frequently?
I suspect one truth Friendly's might find is that parents love to make their kids happy. If they can consistently, across, all their stores, deliver a good and inexpensive experience for families they will have a good chance of success.
Looking forward to a strong rebound from Friendly's.