|Maura C. Tobias
WILBRAHAM, Mass. (December 4, 2006) - Friendly's Restaurants Franchise, Inc., one of America's most successful restaurant franchises, today announced that it will significantly expand its presence in North Carolina through a development agreement with established restaurateur Cliford E. Bullard, Jr.
Under the development agreement, Bullard will open three Friendly's restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham, Wilmington and Lumberton markets with the option for nine additional restaurants. The first restaurant is scheduled to open in Lumberton by the end of June 2007, and all 12 locations will be open by June 2013. Friendly's current North Carolina location is in Huntersville.
Cliford "Clif" Bullard, Jr., has more than 25 years of multi-concept restaurant experience. He owns and operates 19 Burger King and eight Smithfield's Chicken 'n Barbecue franchises, primarily in North and South Carolina.
"We have long regarded North Carolina as an extremely important strategic market for Friendly's, and in Clif Bullard we believe we have found the perfect partner to expand our presence here," said Jim Sullivan, vice president, franchising and real estate development. "Clif's record as a restaurateur speaks for itself. With his operations expertise and his understanding of local store marketing, he was an ideal choice for Friendly's and we are confident that he and his team will help make the Friendly's brand a tremendous success in North Carolina."
Friendly's, named among the nation's 25 top performing franchises by the Wall Street Journal, opened its first location in Springfield, Mass., in 1935 and now has more than 500 locations in 16 states.
"With delicious food and signature ice cream offered in a concept with five day-parts, the opportunity for volume and growth is outstanding. Friendly's top-notch marketing and operations teams offer the complete package of products and support services needed in today's marketplace."
Each Friendly's will bring additional jobs and tax revenues to the local area. "I'm looking forward to making Friendly's an active and valued part of the Raleigh-Durham, Wilmington, and Lumberton communities," Bullard added.
The announcement is part of an ongoing franchise expansion strategy by Friendly's, which has announced plans for 23 restaurants in the last 10 months.
Friendly Ice Cream Corporation (Amex: FRN) is a vertically integrated restaurant company serving signature sandwiches, entrees and ice cream desserts in a friendly, family environment in more than 515 company and franchised restaurants throughout the Northeast. The company also manufactures ice cream, which is distributed through more than 4,500 supermarkets and other retail locations. With a 71-year operating history, Friendly's enjoys strong brand recognition and is currently revitalizing its restaurants and introducing new products to grow its customer base.
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