WILBRAHAM, MA-As its board considers strategic alternatives that might include selling the company, Friendly Ice Cream Corp. is implementing a new customer service initiative, executives said at the company’s first quarter conference call.

On March 7, the company announced that it had retained investment bank Goldman Sachs and law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges to explore strategic options. The board is examining those options, the company said, declining to comment further. Meanwhile, management continues on revitalizing the company, including updating the menu, new marketing, and “Service the Friendly Way,” a reorganization of restaurant staff to improve customer service.

“All of us serve the customer or serve those who serve the customer,” said George M. Condos, president and CEO. The first five restaurant tests begin this week, he said.

During the quarter, the firm opened one new, company-owned Friendly’s restaurant and franchisees opened one new franchise restaurant. Six restaurants were closed, and six more acquired by franchisees.

For the first quarter, net revenues declined by 2.5% to $122.6 million. Comparable restaurant sales decreased 4.1% for company-operated restaurants and decreased 4.6% for franchised restaurants. The net loss from continuing operations was $6 million compared with a loss of $1.8 million in last year’s first quarter.

Friendly Ice Cream Corp. has 515 company and franchised restaurants throughout the Northeast.

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