Boston Market joins mix-and-match movement

Boston Market joins mix-and-match movement

GOLDEN Colo. Boston Market, the 520-unit rotisserie chicken specialist, is offering $2.99 mix-and-match meal deals for a limited time through March 21.

The Golden-based chain owned by Sun Capital Partners is offering four $2.99 Market Deals that permit patrons to mix and match menu items, including some half-portion entrees, side dishes, salads and cornbread. Typically, customers spend an average of $8 to $8.50, a Boston Market representative said.

Mix-and-match menu options at various price points have become increasingly popular among chains of all types in recent months. For example, sandwich chain Quiznos has had a $5 Choose 2 Menu limited-time offer since January, and Qdoba Mexican Grill recently added to its regular menu a Craft 2 section priced from $5.99 to $7.39, depending on the market.

“These Market Meal Deals make dining out both delicious and very affordable,” said Lane Cardwell, who took the reins at Boston Market as chief executive last year. “We are thrilled to offer our guests these Boston Market favorites in special portions at this extraordinary price.”

Market Deal offers include a half BBQ Chicken Carver sandwich, with one regular gourmet side dish, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese or creamed spinach; a Mini Meatloaf Meal consisting of one slice of meatloaf, instead of the two normally served, one regular side and cornbread; the Side Duo, or choice of two regular sides and cornbread; and a soup, side Caesar salad and cornbread option.

Cardwell noted that the reduced portions offered through Market Deals may appeal to some of the chain’s older clientele.

“The reason that many older patrons share is that most restaurants have larger portions [and prices] than they need, so sharing is their response,” he said. “We hope that our $2.99 portions and prices will make it possible for this group to be able to order their own entree and still accomplish portion and price control.”

ABoston Market representative said Market Meals will be promoted using social media, at-store banners, printed point-of-purchase materials and through e-mails to the chain’s VIP loyalty program participants.

The Market Deals initiative is the latest in several recent moves under Cardwell to revitalize the chain, which has seen declining or flat systemwide sales since 2007 as a result of the recession and closure of more than 12 percent of its total number of stores.

Early last month, the chain that was once a high-flying freestanding public entity and, later, a division of McDonald’s Corp., began testing several lunch-focused menu items [3], including sandwiches and salads. At the same time, it added fryers in its Raleigh, N.C., market to test the sale of French fries, sweet potato fries and fried chicken tenders -- another first for the chain founded on the idea of selling whole, non-fried chickens to patrons as home-meal replacements.

The Raleigh locations also are testing a "flavor bar," where guests can take their food and augment it with six different sauces and salsas for dressing and dipping, as well as flour tortillas for wrapping meals.

Last September and October, Boston Market put its own spin on the traffic-building “Kids-Eat-Free” promotion increasingly trotted out by operators of all kinds during the downturn, when it offered two free meals for children 14 or under with the purchase of single adult meal priced at $6 or higher. Chain officials said the terms of the promotion were crafted in recognition of the growing number of households with a single parent or two or more children.

Contact Alan J. Liddle at [email protected] [4].