The local skinny on Boston Market’s downfall

Bad news for Boston Market lovers: the fast-casual rotisserie chicken chain is approaching its demise. This isn’t too shocking for anyone who follows restaurant news. Boston Market has had a difficult history. They first arrived in Houston in 1994, with concrete plans for 17 locations and eventual eyes for 50 total stores throughout Houston at some point. At that time, they were known as Boston Chicken and undergoing a growth spurt, which would land them in bankruptcy by 1998. During this bankruptcy, McDonald’s would pick up the chain to salvage the real estate to lease for new McDonald’s stores. However, they found that the chain was a pretty good compliment to their existing restaurants and even colocated some stores here in Houston. McDonald’s leadership of Boston Market seemed to be one of their strongest times, developing a loyal fanbase. However, these good times wouldn’t last forever, and in 2007, on the cusp of the great recession, McDonald’s sold off Boston Market to a private investment firm. This firm would then hold on to Boston Market for the next 13 years. During its time under the private investment firm, advertising and expansion largely took a back seat. While Boston Market did continue to update their menu and occasionally add bits of remodeling, stores were becoming outdated and quickly losing traffic.

In 2020, Boston Market would be sold for the final time to date to a company owned by a former Pizza Hut franchisee. Initially, the sale didn’t seem to change much; a few locations in and around Houston closed. However, this was seemingly the continuation of an existing trend. By the start of 2022, the closings were getting out of hand, especially in areas where Boston Market had a strong audience, like New England, where alarm bells for the chain’s future were initially rung. While no one seems to know exactly what issues are befuddling Boston Market, but limited cash flow is an obvious one. Boston Market lost contracts with existing suppliers and has had to resort to alternative vendors or, in the case of soda, discontinue fountain drinks. With conditions somewhat resembling Fuddruckers, the situation for Boston Market looks quite glum at this point. As of this post, the Meyerland and FM 1960 locations appear to still be open. Westheimer has closed sometime recently, and all other locations are permanently out of business. The food was better than Fuddruckers!