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Friendly’s Customer Service was “Friendly” for a Change

{ Posted on Apr 16 2013 by Marcus Alston }

Forget about the negative feedback McDonald’s is receiving about the customer service provided by its employees.  Friendly’s Restaurant is infamous for having bad, rude, uncaring, and indifferent employees who provide poor customer service.  In fact, a few weeks ago, I had just left the smallest Friendly’s I have ever been in which is located in West Orange, New Jersey, because the line was too long, the staff was indifferent, the place was dirty looking, and we were packed in like sardines.  It was a bad experience and our party of 9 left after 2 minutes of waiting . . . .

Well that could be all changing at the Friendly’s chain.  I was pleasantly surprised about my experience at a different Friendly’s on Route 44 in Avon, Connecticut on a recent Saturday.

My two kids and I went to Friendly’s at about 6 pm which is prime time for most restaurants, and especially Friendly’s which seems to always have a wait.  I have been to multiple Friendly’s in the past, including in Connecticut, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Maryland and the long waiting times seems to be universally true.

However, this time, upon entering, I noticed a distinct attitude change and a turnover in new staff from a previous visit at this location. Nevertheless, I rushed the kids past the waiting crowd to stay ahead of other patrons coming in behind us for fear that this would just add to the historically long wait.

The server was VERY pleasant and welcoming.  “Welcome to Friendly’s.  How many?  Three?  Ok, the wait will be about 15 minutes,” he said.  I said to myself, “Not bad for Friendly’s.  A nice greeting and a relatively short wait.  I will take it.”

About 15 minutes later, we were seated at this Friendly’s in Connecticut.  The person who seated us took our drink orders BEFORE leaving us which was a welcome change—we were given hope that we might eat relatively quickly.  In the past, just to place our order we have waited 30 minutes to well over an hour at Friendly’s after being seated!

Our waitress arrived in less than 5 minutes with our drinks and took our order.  She was friendly, attentive, not distracted, and accommodating.  We felt like she was there to serve us and not just to get us out of the restaurant.  My salad came first about 5 minutes after the waitress took our order and we were all eating our full meals about 20-25 minutes later!  Again, the server was quite accommodating and polite and checked on us several times to see if we needed anything and were enjoying our meals.

The kids ordered grilled cheese and chicken fingers, each with fries.  I ordered a build your own burger with no bread, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, lettuce and tomato; broccoli instead of fries, and the side salad.  My burger and the rest of the food were awesome.  The kids topped off their meal with Friendly’s signature ice cream.  I tasted both the mint chocolate chip and the chocolate chip cookie dough.  Yummy!  This was probably my best customer service experience yet at Friendly’s and the enjoyment I experienced was higher than that at most upscale restaurants.  To top it all off, the entire meal for the three of us was under $29 before tip!  Let’s hope that other Friendly’s restaurants are going through a similar renaissance.

I like to get my money’s worth and stretch my budget dollars.  This experience was definitely more than worth it.  If you are going to spend your hard earned money, you should get your money’s worth too or otherwise you should communicate your dissatisfaction to management.  This is part of being frugal and having the consumermiser mentality (i.e. get at least your money’s worth).

Tell me about your customer service experience at Friendly’s and other restaurants and businesses?

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