George Michel to fill in for John Maguire as Friendly’s CEO

Photograph: Shutterstock

George Michel, the retired CEO of  Boston Market, is returning to active duty as interim CEO of a sister brand to his former charge, the Friendly’s family restaurant chain.

At Friendly’s, he’ll succeed John Maguire, the chain veteran who’d led the troubled brand for six years. Friendly’s said Maguire is leaving as of Oct. 1 to take a job elsewhere, but his new employer was not revealed.

Maguire was also CEO of Johnny Rockets. He is succeeded there by Mike Nolan, who has been serving as the retro diner chain’s president.

Michel had been CEO of Boston Market for eight years until his retirement was announced in May. He was replaced by Frances Allen, a former president of Jack in the Box.  

Boston Market, Friendly’s and Johnny Rockets are all controlled by Sun Capital Partners, the large private-equity company that owns more than a dozen restaurant chains.

Maguire had been CEO of Friendly’s for six years, assuming the post six months after the brand emerged from bankruptcy.  Among his first actions was streamlining the ice cream concept’s menu and tweaking its operations.

Founded in 1935, Friendly’s is one of the industry’s oldest chains. It developed a cult following in its core market of New England, largely because of its extensive line of ice creams.

It also pioneered a unique operational model in which the kitchen is in the center of the restaurant, with booth seating abutting it. The idea was that servers could stay inside that cordoned-off central area and serve food hot off the grill to customers by taking just a few steps.

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