Why Boston Market was once what other chains wanted to be

Restaurant Rewind: The brand is currently slogging through a challenging chapter. How did it land in such straits after such a hyped beginning?

Boston Market is once again snagging headlines, though not for the reasons that made it one of the most talked-about restaurant concepts of the 1990s.

The talk back then was of upending the industry with an operation unlike anything the business had ever seen. Its management crowed about the brand hitting the $1 billion systemwide sales mark faster than any concept that had preceded it. Now the chain is struggling to pay its bills.

Whatever happens to the self-professed pioneer of “home meal replacement,” it will likely be remembered by anyone around at the time for the excitement the venture generated in its early days.

What made it such an attention-getter, a simultaneous source of awe, skepticism and warnings about smooth-talking interlopers from other industries?

In this week’s episode of Restaurant Rewind, we look back at those heady initial years and a few of the jaw-dropping events that transpired in the years afterward. If buzz were profits, the brand would be bigger today than McDonald’s, its one-time owner. Indeed, Big Mac copied it, as did operators ranging from Cracker Barrel to Arby's to Roy Rogers. 

Give a listen by downloading the episode from wherever you get your podcasts.

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