Six Friendly’s locations have announced temporary layoffs totaling in excess of 120 employees and the temporary closing of the restaurants due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The impacted locations include: Manchester, Avon, Wethersfield, Mystic, Plainville, and Willimantic.
Company officials said that because of the pandemic and the orders against in-person dining, Friendly’s had to close and lay off its employees at those six locations.
Friendly’s said they told employees in a letter that “while we are hopeful the layoff will be temporary but because of the uncertainties we face we cannot state with certainty when the layoff will end or when we can resume normal operations or whether or when employees may be recalled.”
“Given the events as they continue to unfold, it is possible that the layoff could last for more than six months,” the company wrote in its letter.
Before the pandemic, financial struggle at Friendly’s came to a head in late 2011, when the chain finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time, the company maintained over 400 restaurants and employed around 10,000 people.
A year later, when the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2012, it had closed over 100 stores, and bankruptcy proceedings had wiped away nearly $300 million dollars in debt, including pension plans for employees who had been promised a comfortable retirement.
Nearly a decade later, the chain continues closing locations nationwide. As of January 2019, there were 200 outposts of the restaurant still in operation, but that number keeps dwindling. As of April 2019, after closing another 23 stores, there are just 174 Friendly’s left.
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