The Long, Slow Death Of Boston Market

A timeline of the trials and tribulations of America's once thriving rotisserie chicken chain.

Since the mid-1980s, Boston Market (formerly known as Boston Chicken) has made its hay on the strength of a simple, delicious centerpiece item: takeout rotisserie chicken. But Boston Market eventually found itself competing with companies from Costco to Whole Foods, struggling to retain its grip on a trend it helped usher in. So in July 2019, Nation's Restaurant News reported the chain would close 10% of its remaining 454 stores, or 45 in total. Read More

January 2021: Boston Market is staging a big comeback by opening two new restaurants per week

After Boston Market shrank and fizzled in 2019, it was purchased in April 2020 by Jay Pandya and opened 41 new stores (some in long-closed locations). By early 2021, the chain was on pace to open two new locations per week. Pandya told the media that smaller, more streamlined locations were going to give the business the scale it needed for a comeback—and this being 2021, the restaurant also got to work rolling out a fried chicken sandwich. Read More

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January 2021: Boston Market enters the fried chicken sandwich wars, might want to rethink that decision

As part of Boston Market's comeback, it attempted to capitalize on the fried chicken sandwich boom by releasing a Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich of its own. The chain's owner, Jay Pandya, made a bold statement, saying, "We are not in the chicken sandwich wars anymore after you eat our sandwich. It is phenomenal." But... was it? Read More

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July 2022: Boston Market’s New Nuggets Aren’t Nuggets, Dammit

By summer 2022, the chicken sandwich boom was finally tapering off, and chicken nuggets made a bit of an unexpected resurgence. Popeyes and KFC both made a splash with nuggets, so Boston Market naturally followed suit in a presumed effort to revive its menu. But its so-called Rotisserie Chicken Nuggets were a total misfire, taking all the fun out of nuggets while doing little to remind us why Boston Market is worth visiting in the first place. Read More

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August 2023: Boston Market Is Being Sued by Seemingly Everyone on Earth

Even after its shaky comeback, most people understood Boston Market as a place where the rotisserie chicken is delicious (best served whole, rather than in nugget form), and the catering menu can save holiday feasts in a pinch. But the public would soon become aware that the fast casual chain was embroiled in its share of legal troubles. Read More

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August 2023: The Restaurant That Shrank the Most Last Year Isn’t Exactly a Shocker

It only takes a glance at Popeyes, Dave's Hot Chicken, and everywhere in between to see that the fast food world has changed quite a bit since Boston Market's heyday. The added competition and widespread embrace of fast food innovation means Boston Market looks old-fashioned by comparison. This likely led to the brand's distinction of having shrank the most in 2022, with 41 restaurant closures, or 12% of its overall footprint. Read More

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September 2023: Boston Market Is Back Up and Running in New Jersey

After a stop work order forced the chain to temporarily close 27 locations in New Jersey, Boston Market was eventually granted permission to resume operations. The reopenings followed an order by a judge to close the locations because of unpaid wages to its staff. The New Jersey Department of Labor told Restaurant Business that the matter "resulted in workers getting the money they were owed." Read More

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January 2024: Virtually Anyone Can Open a Boston Market Now

Boston Market had a tumultuous 2023, and that's putting it lightly. The rotisserie chicken chain began this year in the same dire straits, and desperate times call for desperate measures: The restaurant kicked off 2024 with an aggressive franchising model that allows practically anyone to open their own Boston Market after answering a few questions. Read More

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February 2024: Boston Market lost a $12 million lawsuit and could lose even more money

In February, one of Boston Market's biggest legal challenges from 2023 finally came to a head: A judge ordered the rotisserie chicken chain to pay US Foods $11.9 million after the distributor filed a lawsuit against Boston Market over unpaid bills. Read More

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March 2024: Only 27 Boston Markets Are Still Standing

Now, Boston Market is hanging on by a thread, and it looks like the strands are only getting thinner. Following a bankruptcy filing, countless legal woes, and yet another (attempted) bankruptcy filing, the quick-service rotisserie chicken chain is now down to its last 27 locations, and it might only survive another few weeks or months. Read More

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