Friendly’s Restaurants’ parent files for bankruptcy, announces sale

A Friendly’s Ice Cream Corp restaurant is seen on the day the company filed for bankruptcy in Delray Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

FIC Restaurants, the parent company of Friendly’s, said Sunday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the coronavirus pandemic caused sales to plummet.

The company will sell “substantially all” of its assets to Amici Partners Group. FIC estimated that its assets were worth $1 million to $10 million in its bankruptcy filing. Friendly’s is asking for the bankruptcy court to approve of the sale in mid-December.

The East Coast restaurant chain, which is best known for its ice cream, joins the legion of restaurants that have filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the pandemic, including Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company and Ruby Tuesday. More are expected to follow as Covid-19 cases surge and cold weather hits demand for outdoor dining.

“Unfortunately, like many restaurant businesses, our progress was suddenly interrupted by the catastrophic impact of COVID-19, which caused a decline in revenue as dine-in operations ceased for months and re-opened with limited capacity,” FIC Restaurants CEO George Michel said in a statement.

Nearly all of Friendly’s 130 restaurants are expected to remain open, although that is subject to Covid-19 restrictions. Restaurant supplier U.S. Foods is FIC’s largest creditor.

This isn’t Friendly’s first trip to bankruptcy court. Friendly’s and its subsidiaries, which included its ice cream business and restaurant operations, filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Dean Foods, the largest milk producer in the U.S., bought the ice cream business in 2016, three years before it filed for bankruptcy itself.

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