Boston Market, once deemed a worthy competitor in the fast-casual restaurant space, has suffered in recent years, and as delectable as that fall-off-the-bone rotisserie chicken might be, a lot has gone wrong for this once-prominent chain. Here are all the reasons Boston Market is disappearing.
In the early ‘90s, the chain then known as “Boston Chicken” rocketed to fame and fortune with an aggressive expansion strategy that was built on a house of lies. Essentially the company would loan money to potential franchisees, who would then use that money to pay the company a franchise fee, along with other costs, including interest on the loan.
The parent company then reported all this income as pure profit, leaving the franchisees to bear the burden of startup costs. As a result, individual franchises suffered while the home office reported record growth and profit. This allowed them to launch a stock offering in 1996 which saw the price of shares double in a single day, and then double again before the end of the year.
Since the profit model was based on constant expansion, you can guess what happened. The market reached saturation, struggling franchisees couldn’t repay their loans, and suddenly the whole thing collapsed. In 1998, the company declared bankruptcy and was forced to close over 700 locations.
Hub of the chickenverse | 0:16
Enter the Hamburglar | 1:10
A game of chicken | 1:53
Marketing missteps | 2:19
They’re pretty low on atmosphere | 3:05
The menu is old fashioned | 3:30