Financing

Boston Market is down to 27 restaurants

The owner of the rotisserie chicken chain also had his second bankruptcy filing terminated over technical issues and is banned from filing another one.
Boston Market
Boston Market is closing locations almost daily, employees say. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Boston Market’s downfall may be coming to its final weeks as the once-national chain of rotisserie chicken restaurants is down to just about 27 locations, several sources told Restaurant Business.

Meanwhile, a federal court judge on Friday terminated Boston Market owner Jay Pandya’s second personal bankruptcy filing over technical issues.

In the process, the judge banned Pandya from declaring bankruptcy for another six months.

The news highlights the continued downward spiral of the fast-casual chain, which has been in severe decline over the past two years amid lawsuits, unpaid bills and large numbers of closed restaurants.

The company began 2023 with about 300 locations and has been closing numerous restaurants since then.

The closures come either because landlords are evicting Boston Market over unpaid bills, or because state officials are shutting down restaurants over unpaid sales taxes or other issues.

Estimates on how many locations have closed have varied greatly. Restaurant Business sister company Technomic said the brand operated as few as 79 locations as of early January.

But the brand has continued to close locations. “Restaurants are closing every day,” one former employee said. A list of open restaurants provided to Restaurant Business includes just 27 locations, and several employees confirmed the number. 

Pandya himself disputed the number of locations, insisting that there are "more than double" Boston Market restaurants currently opened. We asked him to provide a list of locations, but he has thus far refused to do so. 

The number of remaining locations highlights the kind of freefall Boston Market is in right now. More than nine out of 10 of the brand’s restaurants have shut down over the past 15 months, a collapse nearly unprecedented for a brand that size.

(For more, see The Demise of Boston Market.)

Boston Market has a notorious history. It grew rapidly in the 1990s as a home meal replacement option, but grew too quickly, filed for bankruptcy, closed large numbers of locations and was sold to McDonald’s.

The burger giant converted many Boston Market locations and later sold the brand to Sun Capital. The company has been in a decline ever since.

But its current downfall can be traced to 2020, when Sun sold the brand at a low price to Pandya, a former Dunkin’ and Pizza Hut franchisee. Boston Market after that stopped paying bills without steep discounts.

The chain has been sued more than 150 times since then in a variety of state and federal courts, mostly over unpaid bills, including multiple lawsuits from current and former employees.

The biggest such lawsuit was filed last year by the giant distributor US Foods, which won a $15 million award last month after receiving a default judgment on its suit against Boston Market. The company has appealed that result.

Pandya himself declared personal bankruptcy in December, listing $10 million worth of US Foods debt in the process. That filing was terminated in January, after Pandya didn’t provide insurance information on a pair of rental properties he owns.

He filed again one month later, shortly after the US Foods default judgment. This time, a bankruptcy trustee moved to terminate this one after Pandya didn’t meet certain court filing deadlines.

This order, however, bars Pandya from seeking “bankruptcy relief under any chapter for a period of six months.”

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comment from Jay Pandya.

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