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Struggling Boston Market will let anyone open a location

The lawsuit-riddled rotisserie chicken chain will let people become operators of the brand without any franchise fee or other buy-in requirements.
Boston Market
Boston Market will let you operate a location with no franchise fees. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Boston Market, the fast-casual chain that is subject to dozens of lawsuits over unpaid bills, on Wednesday said that it would let anyone open a location while it also vowed to release a slew of new menu items.

The company, which operates around 100 locations, announced what is called a “groundbreaking” “profit center program.” It appears to be targeted at non-traditional locations across the country.

Under the program, people interested can fill out a questionnaire or send an email to theoretically open a location inside an existing “restaurant, deli, gas station or any suitable establishment.”

The company said it would charge “no franchise fees,” but will “instead focus on mutually beneficial collaboration.” The company boasts that an existing business can “tap into a new customer base and revenue source without the typical franchise constraints.”

The owner-operators would “receive Boston Market’s high-quality food products and the associated brand goodwill” and would get “access to proven operational systems and marketing support.”

In the process, Boston Market said it plans to introduce a new menu item from a different country every six weeks, beginning with owner Jay Pandya’s birthplace, India. The company said it would introduce the Indian dishes Chicken Tikka and Biryani.

“The Boston Market name stands for itself and is well-known throughout the country,” Pandya said in a statement. “Now, with everyone’s support, we will be able to provide our famous rotisserie chicken and delicious, homemade sides and family meals to everyone.”

The company has posted a form on its website, filled mostly with open-ended questions, such as “What contribution or value could you bring to Boston Market” and “Are you able to make Boston Market into a community cornerstone?”

It’s uncertain what, if anything, Boston Market plans to charge for the right to operate the brand. It is also uncertain whether the company would be required to file a franchise disclosure document. We could find none for the brand on file in Minnesota, Wisconsin or California.

But it comes as the company is fighting numerous lawsuits, including one from US Foods in which the giant distributor is seeking a nearly $12 million judgment. Boston Market has been sued more than 140 times since 2020, mostly over unpaid bills.

It also comes as Pandya himself has filed for personal bankruptcy, listing some of his business debts—including that US Foods bill—as liabilities. That case was dismissed on Thursday, following a motion from a U.S. bankruptcy trustee who argued that Pandya did not provide insurance details on a pair of rental properties he owns. 

Boston Market itself has closed at many as 200 locations this year, mostly due to foreclosures by landlords over unpaid leases. It is also under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor over unpaid wages.

For more on Boston Market, check out our comprehensive coverage here.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to note that the bankruptcy case has been dismissed. 

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