Friendly's files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection

October 5, 2011 - 7:40 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The parent of the Friendly's restaurant chain is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and says it has already closed 63 of its stores.

The 76-year-old company known for its ice cream and hamburgers says the economic downturn coupled with higher costs and high rents drove it to file for bankruptcy protection.

Friendly Ice Cream Corp., based in Wilbraham, Mass., says it has secured $70 million in financing and that its 424 remaining restaurants will stay open as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. Gift cards will continue to be honored.

It says the store closings and its reorganization efforts will better position it for the future.

Its current owners, Sun Capital Partners, will be the lead, or "stalking horse" bidders, in an auction process.