Compared with Reorg, Friendly's Counsel Enjoys Growing Again
Bob Sawyer is having a much better time this year as general counsel of Friendly’s Ice Cream, compared to recent years past, he told this blogger at lunch at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Forum in May.
This year, he’s having fun working with new CEO John Maguire, the former COO of Panera Bread who was brought in to revive the company. The focus is on making the unit economics work, after several years when the menu ballooned at Friendly’s, and so did the wait times.
The year before Sawyer served on a Legal Forum panel about how to get through bankruptcy court. And the year before that he took the brand through Chapter 11 reorganization, a Ph.D-level course and a plum assignment for any attorney, but one he’d rather not repeat. “It’s grueling,” Sawyer says.
Friendly’s is well-known on the East Coast for its ice cream, which it makes in its own manufacturing plant. Once Maguire gets the culture where he wants it—and Sawyer says it’s a lot more motivating to work in a growing brand than in a shrinking one—they’ll revive the effort to sell franchises.