Have you dropped by a Boston Market recently? The chain that was once best known for rotisserie chicken is now serving everything from ribs and meatloaf to sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts. Whether you’re a loyal devotee of its meatloaf or if you didn’t even realize that it’s not still called Boston Chicken, we bet that there’s a lot you didn’t know about this pioneer of the fast-casual genre.
When Boston Chicken went public back in 1993, during the first day of trading the stock price surged 140 percent, closing at $48.50, surpassing the first-day gains of Chipotle (100 percent) and Shake Shack (119 percent).
The company expanded far too quickly after it went public. That combined with competition from grocery stores selling their own rotisserie chicken forced it to file for bankruptcy in 1998.
Just about everyone knows that Chipotle was once owned by McDonald’s, but the Golden Arches also once owned Boston Market, between 2000 and 2007. McDonald’s quietly sold the company to Sun Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum in 2007.
Boston Pizza / Facebook
A pizza chain called Boston Pizza sued Boston Market in 2002 over the rights to the use of the word “Boston” in Canada. The lawsuit continued even after all Canadian locations of Boston Market shuttered in 2004, and was settled in 2008, with Boston Market agreeing to not use the word “Boston” in Canada for five years.
In an effort to help Americans cut down on salt consumption, the company removed all salt shakers from tables in 2012. It also reduced sodium levels by 20 percent in its rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes.
You might think that all gravy is loaded with fat and calories, but Boston Market’s only contains 10 calories and a trace amount of fat per ounce. It’s thickened with corn starch and maltodextrin, so no heavy fat-based roux is needed.