I’m not too passionate about restaurants, but Friendly’s restaurant is my exception. Give me two minutes of your time and I’ll tell you why.
For those of you that live west of New York you may not understand the reason why I love a restaurant and why it holds a dear place in my heart. The credit goes to my teenage years in the 1980’s. Every outing with high school friends ended with a trip to Friendly’s: the beach, tubing, movies, you name it Friendly’s was involved. Maybe it’s the reason I lost 20 pounds my freshman year of college, we didn’t have Friendly’s.
Friendly’s is a New England tradition, the ice cream parlor around the corner where young and old can met in the corner booth, order a Happy Endings Sundae for 99 cents and have it served in a real glass sundae glass with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Don’t know if Happy Ending are still 99 cents, but in the 1980’s they were just the right price. Some of my friends liked Fribbles better. (No, not Tribbles, but I wonder where they got the name) Fribbles are deliciously rich shakes, that almost need a spoon.
Get extra spoons though because with my group of friends sharing wasn’t an option, it was mandatory. Sharing sundaes is such a tradition at the restaurant that Sharable Sundaes were created, starting with the Jim Dandy
Sure, they serve burgers, salads, fries and the like, but who really goes to Friendly’s for real food when they have a whole menu dedicated to sundaes! I loved their ice cream sundaes so much I asked for a sundae menu to take to college.
Maybe it was the name that is inviting? It just sounds like a place for friends, family and good times. As a marketing geek I love the concept from start to finish. The name, the friendly setting, and the branding of the company has transcended generations and miles. I recently met someone in Nebraska who misses the sundaes as much as me and we are both fans of the Friendly’s facebook page. With over 300,000 fans there are a lot of people that love Friendly’s. I even read their Mom’s Just Want to Have Fun blog
So now I marry my food passion with social media passion. Every Friendly’s Facebook post receives dozens, if not hundreds, of comments and likes. Talk about a social media success! But it proves that online social media is just not a stand alone marketing method, it starts with “real” social media with “real” customers who have a social connection. There is a Friendly’s Twitter page if you’re into Twitter.
Friendly’s ice cream couldn’t be more social in the physical world, it’s all about interacting with friends. A perfect formula that transcends into online social media. Excitement and new products are created, in this case new ice cream flavors and new salads. Social media is a great place to listen to your audience, and comments about store locations, hours, and complaints are posted as well. What a great way to listen to your customers. Every now and then the CEO of Friendly’s get’s on to chat. I’m campaigning for a Friendly’s restaurant in Nebraska, don’t know if I’ll get it, but it’s fun asking. I love it!
The only advantage to not having a neighborhood Friendly’s is I can still walk through the doorway without walking sideways. Metabolism after age forty is a terrible thing. But when I go home I still gather with my best friends and order the mint chocolate chip cookie sundae shared over laughter and tears all those years ago.
Yes, longer than 2 minutes, but it got you craving for ice cream didn’t it.
If you like to make your own ice cream then head over to my ice cream recipe article.