Friendly’s Restaurants Taps Erich & Kallman as New AOR

By Jameson Fleming 

Friendly’s Restaurants is undergoing a transformation to bring the iconic eatery into today’s on-demand world, planning to open up new concepts that allow diners to get their food on the go. To drive that transformation, the restaurant brand has hired San Francisco-independent agency Erich & Kallman as its agency of record.

The shop will handle creative and media duties for the 80-plus-year-old brand, which operates 130 stores, down from its all-time high of about 850 locations 30 years ago. Friendly’s also recently appointed David Ellis, who has served as a top marketer at multiple restaurant chains previously, as CMO.

“We were looking for an agency that can bring joy and happiness to life in a fun, memorable and distinctive way,” Ellis said. “Erich & Kallman’s strategic approach, creative ideas and integrated media planning will help to create a new advertising campaign that captures the essence of the iconic Friendly’s brand in a contemporary new way.”


According to a recent report, Friendly’s is moving into the fast-casual space, with its first location opening soon in Massachusetts. The brand has brought back fan-favorite items to win back customers, while also incorporating a new loyalty program that’s garnered a half million signups since its launch in June.

After filing for bankruptcy in November 2020, Friendly’s was sold to Amici Partners Group, which specializes in restaurants, for $2 million.

It’s the latest new client win for Erich & Kallman, which counts as recent victories apartment rental company Landing, Great Wolf Resorts, Take 5 Oil Change, Meineke Car Care, Lucid Motors and Foster Farms. It’s also expanded its relationship with Disney+, Hershey, AliveCor, New Belgium Brewing and Krave Jerky. Agency vets Steven Erich and Eric Kallman founded the agency in 2016.