Monday, February 19, 2024

Boston Market Once Successful Now Stuck in Failure Mode according to the Grocerant Guru®


Boston Market, formerly known as Boston Chicken, began serving its homestyle meals of spit-roasted rotisserie chickens, made-from-scratch cornbread, and creamy mac and cheese in 1985. As it grew in popularity, it had about 1,200 locations at one time, according to Restaurant Business.  Today there are just over 300 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. All the result of loss of customer focus.

However, in recent years, Boston Market has faced increasing competition from other foodservice providers, especially grocery stores that offer ready-to-eat and heat-and-eat meals for time-starved consumers. According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Boston Market has failed to adapt to the changing consumer preferences and has driven customers away with its outdated menu, lack of innovation, and poor customer service.

Johnson, who coined the term grocerant to describe any grocery store, convenience store, retailer, or restaurant that offers freshly prepared or ready-to-heat food to eat on the premises or to-go, says that Boston Market has not kept up with the grocerant trend that is reshaping the food industry. Instead, they focused on what they ‘wanted’ a brand of nostalgia filled with yesterday’s customers.

He says that consumers today are looking for convenience, variety, quality, and value when it comes to their food choices, and that grocery stores have been able to meet these demands by offering a wide range of products, from salads and sandwiches to sushi and pizza, that can be consumed on-site or taken home. Johnson says that grocery stores have also invested in improving their ambiance, service, and technology to create a more appealing dining experience for their customers.

Boston Market, on the other hand, has not changed much since its inception, according to Johnson. He says that the chain still relies on its signature rotisserie chicken and a limited selection of sides, such as mashed potatoes, corn, and macaroni and cheese, that are often bland, or perceived to unhealthy options. He says that Boston Market was late to introduced any new or exciting products, such as plant-based or ethnic options, that could attract new or younger customers. He also says that Boston Market has not leveraged its existing assets, such as its ovens, to create more diverse and customizable offerings, such as baked pasta, roasted vegetables, or flatbread pizzas.

Johnson also criticizes Boston Market for its lack of customer service and engagement. He says that the chain has not invested in training its staff, upgrading its facilities, or enhancing its online presence enough to garner incremental customer buy-in. He says that Boston Market’s website was slowly to update, slow to offer online ordering, delivery, or loyalty programs that were interactive and participatory. He says that the chain’s social media accounts are not interactive enough and do not invite customers to try its products. He says that the chain’s physical locations have often dirty windows, are uninviting, and that the staff are unfriendly, unprofessional, or unresponsive.

Johnson concludes that Boston Market has lost its competitive edge and relevance in the foodservice market, and that it needs to reinvent itself or risk becoming obsolete. He says that the chain needs to rethink its menu, service, and marketing strategies, and to embrace the grocerant concept that is driving the industry forward.

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He says that Boston Market has the potential to regain its customers and grow its business, but only if it is willing to change and innovate. He says that the chain should learn from its competitors, such as Whole Foods, Wegmans, and Costco, that have successfully implemented the grocerant model and have created loyal and satisfied customers.

He says that Boston Market should also listen to its customers and understand their needs, preferences, and feedback, and use them to improve its products and services. He says that Boston Market should not be afraid to experiment and try new things, and to create a more engaging and enjoyable dining experience for its customers. He says that Boston Market should not settle for being a mediocre and outdated restaurant chain, but strive to be a leading and innovative grocerant provider. What’s the cost of your company’s new customer acquisition? 

Success does leave clues as does failure. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 

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