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Boston Market shutters 10% of stores

45 closures are part of the struggling brand’s ‘transformation plan’

Boston Market said Monday that it has closed 45 stores, or about 10% of its 454-unit system,  due to store underperformance, according to a letter circulated by CEO Frances Allen to employees.

The Golden, Colo.-based chain owned by Sun Capital Partners Inc., closed six restaurants on June 30, while the remaining 39 closed on July 7.

“We must take steps to ensure our operational structure will support long-term sustainability,” Frances Allen said in the letter. “Part of that effort involves continuously analyzing our geographic footprint and real estate portfolio to assess the ongoing viability of locations. The dynamics of geographic areas can change dramatically over time, sometimes impacting the performance of a location.”

The Boston Market system had reported U.S. sales of $557.8 million from 454 U.S. units, including 435 company restaurants, for the fiscal year ended in December 2018, which was down 1.3% from $565.3 million in system sales and 461 locations, including 443 company units, in fiscal 2017.

In terms of the parent company’s estimated U.S. revenue from company-restaurant sales, initial franchise fees and franchisee sales royalties, Boston Market had fiscal 2018 revenue of $546.5 million, which was down 1.7% from fiscal 2017’s estimated U.S. revenue of $555.7 million.

The news comes shortly after Boston Market announced a new menu direction in June in an effort to shake up summer sales, including four different summer rotisserie chicken sandwiches. The menu change was part of a “multi-faceted transformation plan” that was meant to improve the chain’s competitive edge in the market and improve “brand relevance through re-energized marketing efforts.”

Another Sun Capital Partners division, Restaurants Unlimited Inc., a 35-unit, Seattle-based restaurant company that owns brands including Kincaid’s, Palomino and Henry’s Tavern, filed for bankruptcy protection on July 8.

At Boston Market, Allen said that all displaced employees would either receive employment opportunities from other stores or would receive a severance package.

“Our success is not going to be measured by the number of stores; it’s going to be driven by and measured by our ability to execute on our agenda,” Allen concluded in her letter to employees.

Alan Liddle, Nation’s Restaurant News’ data and event editor, contributed to this report.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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