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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.


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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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