90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW

A Plan To Save Friendly’s

A sign is displayed on the door at Friendly's restaurant in Brunswick, Maine. (AP)

A sign is displayed on the door at Friendly’s restaurant in Brunswick, Maine. (AP)

In the summer of 1935, in Springfield, Mass., 20-year-old S. Prestley Blake and his 18-year-old brother, Curtis, opened their first Friendly Ice Cream Shop. They had a simple idea: Good ice cream at a good price. They charged a nickel for two scoops — while the bigger ice cream shops charged a dime.

So Friendly’s was born, and would eventually expand to 800 restaurants across 16 states. But despite the Fribble, shakes and fries, Friendly’s couldn’t keep up with the times. Food quality and service suffered, and soon the chain was in deep debt. In 2011, it filed for bankruptcy and closed 100 restaurants.

It’s a story of how the restaurant industry has changed — and about the decline of a Massachusetts institution. But a leaner, debt-free Friendly’s emerged from bankruptcy, and John Maguire, its new CEO, is hoping to write a new chapter in the Friendly’s story.

Guests

John Maguire, CEO Friendly’s.

More

Boston Globe: “On his first day, Maguire opened a meeting with a simple question: “How many of you guys have been to an Au Bon Pain?” With the exception of the delivery drivers, no one had. So that weekend Maguire showed up at the factory with his Ford Explorer and started loading the line workers in for a tour of the Au Bon Pains around Boston, at each stop pointing out what had become of their work. See how good your baked product looks on the shelf? he’d say. See how good your orange juice looks?”


Other stories from this show:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.

Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

  • Listen: Weekdays, 3 p.m. on 90.9 FM
  • Live Call-In: (800) 423-TALK
  • Listener Voicemail: (617) 358-0607
Most Popular
This site is best viewed with: Firefox | Internet Explorer 9 | Chrome | Safari