What Does It Take to Open a Boston Market Franchise?

Boston Market is one of those brands that has been around forever (well, since 1985) and has had its share of ups and downs. In the early 90s, they expanded far too quickly and filed for bankruptcy. McDonalds purchased them, but then sold them off (along with Chipotle and a few other brands they had purchased) when their long and unstoppable collapse began in the late 00s. Since 2007, Boston Market has been quietly run by Sun Capital Partners, a massive equity firm that also owns a number of other famous brands including ShopKo, Bonmarché, and Lexington.

Their recent story? In 2010, they made a subtle but important change from “Kinda like KFC” to “Sorta like Red Robin.” Plastic silverware, disposable plates, and buffet-style service went out (in most stores; some retain the buffet style), and real dishes, metal forks and knives, and a revised menu with a focus on more sides and sauces came into play. (This didn’t keep The Onion from skewering those branches that retained the buffet style of services, however.)

Then, in 2014, the first new Boston Market in four years opened its doors, followed by two more that year, then 10 in 2015. The next target in line? Military bases — the perfect venue for their quick-but-home-y style of meal.

What About The Financials?

Sun Capital Partners is notorious for not releasing financial information about its companies, and Boston Market is no exception. We do know that the company is focused on increasing its Average Unit Volumes — meaning, it’s deliberately trying to drive up the profitability of the stores it currently owns. Since 2010, the AVU of a Boston Market branch has gone from $1 million to $1.3 million, driving it into the top 15 quick-service restaurants in terms of APU. That’s about on par with White Castle, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Jack in the Box.

The CEO (George Michel) claims the target is $1.5m per branch. That would nudge it into the top 10, keeping company with Wendy’s, Zaxby’s, Bojangles’, and Steak N Shake.

That is all the information we have, however, because Sun Capital Partners did not file the necessary financial paperwork for franchises last year — or any year since McDonalds first purchased them. They are growing slowly according to an internal plan developed by their CEO in conjunction with Sun Capital.

Should You Wait?

Michel did hint (and the company’s website does currently say) that the company “may” be developing a franchise program “in the future.” But if you’re looking for a franchise, the chances are excellent that  you’re square in the middle of a window of opportunity that — just because of random changing life circumstances — won’t be open for long. Don’t miss your chance to become a successful franchisee because you were waiting for the One True Franchise to become available — talk to a franchise broker (like us!) about what realistic options could get you started today. Before your window closes and the opportunity is gone for good.

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