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This could be the culmination of the legal troubles against Pandya.

Boston Market owner Jay Pandya files for bankruptcy

The legally troubled owner of the flailing rotisserie chicken restaurant chain filed for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania after facing hundreds of lawsuits from debtors

Boston Market owner Jay Pandya — who faces hundreds of lawsuits from vendors, franchisors, and employees regarding unpaid bills — filed for personal bankruptcy on Dec. 8 with the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Court.  Pandya cited $10-$50 million in liabilities and the same range for assets in his bankruptcy paperwork.

Pandya is the head of Engage Brands under the Rohan Group of Companies, which bought Boston Market in 2020 while the then-struggling company was in the midst of a brand transformation that was meant to boost sales and bring Boston Market out of the red. But nearly four years later, Boston Market’s troubles have only grown.

The company’s headquarters in Denver were seized by local authorities in May for $300,000 in unpaid taxes, multiple vendors have filed lawsuits against Boston Market for unpaid bills, and many locations have been forced to close or employees were stocking their stores with food bought at the supermarket because vendor contracts had run out or been canceled. In August, all of the company’s New Jersey stores were ordered closed due to an investigation by the Department of Labor for unpaid wages, and were allowed to reopen a month later after ownership paid $630,000 in backpay to workers. The New Jersey Department of Labor also forced Boston Market to pay $1.2 million in other damages and almost $732,000 in administrative penalties.

Several of the lawsuits filed against Pandya are starting to come to an end, including a lawsuit between Pandya and Pizza Hut concerning violations of franchise agreements concerning Pizza Hut franchises Pandya owns in Pennsylvania. Pizza Hut was seeking $11 million in damages and attorney’s fees through the lawsuit, and Pandya appealed the case, but the judgment of the district court was affirmed, the appeal denied, and Pandya was required to pay Pizza Hut in an August Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal decision.

In another recent case, a supplier, Ben E. Keith was one of several food distributors that had sued Boston Market – alongside US Foods — for unpaid services and goods rendered. In Nov. 2023, a Texas district judge ordered that Boston Market had to pay more than $522,000 plus interest, to Ben E. Keith food distributor. However, it is unclear if Pandya will be legally beholden to paying off these debtors, since in many cases, filing for bankruptcy can wipe out legal judgments. It is important to note, however, that Pandya filed for personal bankruptcy and not Boston Market – and the legal judgments for the most part, have been holding Boston Market fiscally liable as a corporation, not Pandya as an individual.

This is not the first time that Pandya or his companies have filed for bankruptcy: In Feb. 2023, Pandya Restaurant Growth Brands-owned fast-casual bakery-café chain, Corner Bakery Café, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, after only three years of ownership.

It is unclear exactly how many Boston Market stores remain while locations dwindle due to unpaid bills and rent, though 300 locations were left as of this summer.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]

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