Friendly’s emerges from bankruptcy with a new strategy

The Friendly’s Ice Cream bankruptcy case is over.

The restaurant chain emerged from Chapter 11 protection in January, 2012, after filing the case in October, 2011. Over 100 restaurants were shuttered as part of the case, typically an indication of too-high lease payments.

The chain also will be using the benefits of the bankruptcy to change its business strategy, according to the Boston Globe. Chief among the new tactics: an effort to sell its ice cream treats at retail through stores like Walmart and Target.

In the past few months, Friendly’s products have been added to the freezer aisles of 3,200 more supermarkets, a 40 percent increase.

“We will double [the number] within the full year and have Walmart selling our ice cream cakes coast to coast,’’ said Harsha Agadi, who served as Friendly’s chief executive until resigning last week and currently sits on the board of directors. “It’s a huge opportunity.’’

Using the bankruptcy laws to their advantage allows the Fribble maker to be nimble in this way.

While many of the chain’s stores had to be closed, the Merrimack Valley was essentially spared. Friendly’s shops in Haverhill, Methuen, and Lawrence were open continuously through the bankruptcy proceedings, and appear to still have a healthy number of customers looking for their burger and ice cream fixes.

 

By Doug Beaton

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