Boston Chicken Inc.
“… There is nothing particularly new about rotisserie chicken – those birds have been turning succulently in delicatessen windows for generations. But Boston Chicken is not really about poultry – it is about developing a market-winning formula for picking real estate, designing stores, organizing a franchise operation and analyzing data. These are Boston Chicken’s innovations – trade secrets that can be every bit as valuable as a new drug or computer chip design. With them, Boston Chicken has not only developed the secret for delivering generous quantities of home-cooking at affordable prices, but also transformed what has been a mom-and-pop business into a new national category – take-out home-cooked food.”
The Washington Post, July 4, 1994
A Brief History
Boston Chicken Inc. (BOST) was co-founded by a duo of top executives from the video rental outfit Blockbuster, Scott Beck and Saad Nadhir, on March 9, 1988. Other top executives in the company included the former president and vice-presidents of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Taco Bell, Baker’s Square, Red Lobster, and Chili’s. The original concept was planned to capitalize on two trends in 1980s: A growing population of working women meant less time for home cooking and a higher level of demand in healthier eating habits meant more chicken on the table. BOST originally operated and franchised food service restaurants that specialized in complete meals featuring rotisserie roasted chicken. The number of stores grew from 33 in 1988 to 175 in 1993 throughout 16 states, of which more than 80 percent of stores were franchise-operated. Only 28 stores were BOST solely owned and operated. By the end of 1994, BOST operated more than 530 stores. BOST was voted “America’s Favorite Chicken Chain” in 1995 by Restaurant and Institutions magazine. The annual rate of growth was about 500% each year. As reported in Exhibit 1, revenues increased...