Boston Market, known as Boston Chicken until 1995, headquartered in Golden, Colorado, is a chain of American fast casual restaurants. It is owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida.
Founded in December 1985 in Newton, Massachusetts, by Steven Kolow and Arthur Cores. The chain grew rapidly in the early and mid-1990s. Despite its apparent success, the company raised much debt to finance its expansion. The rapid expansion allowed the company to create a steady stream of revenue from one-time development fees and increasing royalties, but also higher interest rates on its development loans. In 1998, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company was purchased by McDonald's Corporation in May 2000. McDonald's initially purchased the company for its real estate, but found the brand serviceable and therefore continued to operate and expand the chain. In 2007, McDonald's announced that it was "exploring strategic options" for the subsidiary. On August 6, 2007, McDonald's announced plans to sell the chain to Sun Capital Partners, a transaction that was completed on August 27, 2007.
Boston Market has its greatest presence in the Northeastern United States. As of August 2007 , the chain has 530 company-owned restaurants locations in 28 states, with 14,000 employees. At one point in the early 2000s, Boston Market operated two locations in Toronto. In early 2002, Boston Market entered the Australian market, opening nine stores in the Sydney metropolitan area by 2004, before converting some stores to McDonald's and quietly exiting the Australian market later that year due to competitive pressures.
When still known as Boston Chicken, stores specialized in rotisserie chicken and a variety of side dishes, but in February 1995, the chain expanded its menu to include turkey, meatloaf, ham, and sandwiches, and changed the name to Boston Market in Fall 1995 to reflect this, though the corporate name remained "Boston Chicken, Inc." until 1997, when it became so popular with the new name, the corporate name was officially changed to "Boston Market Corporation". The chain later added Beef Brisket. In 2005, Boston Market also started offering limited-time offers, such as Crispy Country Chicken, an oven-baked chicken breast with country gravy. Baked white fish, haddock or cod, was also offered on Fridays during Lent.
A selection of Boston Market-branded items have been available since April 1999 in many supermarkets across the U.S. In April 2004, Boston Market introduced chilled menu items to be sold at supermarkets. In December 2005, these chilled menu items were available in 700 supermarkets. Frozen meals and side dishes are sold nationally under the Boston Market brand name, and until recently they were made by H. J. Heinz Company. They are now produced by Overhill Farms of Vernon, California. Boston Market has also introduced a catering menu.
The "Boston Marathon"
Partnering with Major League Eating, Boston Market has introduced a new marketing campaign called the "Boston Marathon." The competition involves eating three whole chickens, two pot pies, eight pieces of cornbread, six sides, and two desserts of choice in under an hour with no help. Competitive eater Nathan "Sweet Potato" Nevins was the inaugural person inducted into the "Wing of Honor" for completing this feat. A statue of Nevins was erected in his honor outside the original Boston Market location.
In 2002, Boston Pizza commenced a lawsuit against Boston Market in the Federal Court of Canada over the trademark use of the word "Boston" in Canada. In its defence, Boston Market alleged that Boston Pizza's trademarks were invalid because it described a style of pizza from a specific area. The dispute continued after Boston Market ceased operations in Canada in 2004. The parties settled the dispute in 2008 under an agreement that Boston Market would not use the words "Boston" or "Boston Market" in Canada for five years for restaurants or any food or drink products (other than pre-packaged food products, but not including pizza and lasagna). Boston Market also agreed that it will not challenge Boston Pizza's use in Canada of any trademark that uses the words "Boston" or "Boston Pizza" (with certain exceptions).