Boston Market

storewanderer
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Re: Boston Market

Post by storewanderer »

veteran+ wrote: December 25th, 2020, 5:30 am
Perhaps it was my unique tummy.

;)
It is not unusual for this type of format to use MSG or other questionable ingredients in some of the food items that are sitting there under the heat lamps on a steamtable for long time periods. MSG isn't very stomach friendly (nice way to put it). This is a common issue with casino buffets and certain mall-based Asian food places I have had in the past. I'm not sure if Boston Market uses MSG or not (I doubt they use it on the chicken since the chicken seems to have a pretty quick turnaround from cooking to serving) on any of those steamtable side items.
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Re: Boston Market

Post by bayford »

MSG being harmful or unhealthy is a myth founded upon what was probably meant to be a satirical or humorous correspondence letter (i.e. not an actual scientific study) in the New England Journal of Medicine. The reason why most doctors would have taken such a letter as humor is that MSG is simply a salt of glutamic acid, an amino acid that is biochemically abundant and important in metabolism. Furthermore, MSG occurs naturally in salty foods.
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Re: Boston Market

Post by buckguy »

Tell that to someone whose allergic to MSG. Have known a few.
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Re: Boston Market

Post by bayford »

If you consume a quantity of MSG in excess of what would normally be found in foods, you very well could have an adverse reaction, but that's true of many otherwise safe ingredients. Still, in the 50 years since MSG became "controversial," no rigorous scientific study has ever been able to consistently trigger reactions to the amount of MSG routinely found in foods. The general consensus is people who self-report MSG intolerance are likely reacting to some other component(s) of the food.

On another note, FDA regulations don't require naturally-occurring MSG to be disclosed on ingredient labels, so many people would probably be surprised at just how many foods contain MSG. Again, the reason for that is, MSG is within a group of molecules that is essential to life and abundant in living cells. Cheese, fermented foods, and processed foods containing hydrolyzed proteins (including extracts of yeast, soy, etc.) and/or protein isolates generally have the most naturally-occurring MSG, but vegetables, seafood, fish, meat, and poultry contain some too.
storewanderer
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Re: Boston Market

Post by storewanderer »

Found a coupon for a $5.99 1/2 chicken and 2 sides meal so decided to return to this place tonight. Again drive through only. Appeared to have 3 employees on duty. One car in front of me, which took about 5 minutes to get their food. Seemed to be using some kind of coupon as they were showing something on their phone to the cashier and engaged in a bit of discussion then another employee came up and had to do something with the cash register. While I was waiting another car showed up behind me. So this place really just gets a slow trickle of customers.

Food this time was given to me in a reusable flock lined with plastic outer surface bag (???- the type that costs 1.99 in the grocery stores) advertising holiday meals. The customer ahead of me also got their order in two of these bags.

Like the previous visit, the chicken was simply excellent. Crispy skin, tasty throughout, tender, moist, and really really good. The side items were also quite good, the mashed sweet potato (.35 upcharge for this) was very good with some marshmallows on top and some bits of brown sugar and maybe oats (not sure). The regular mashed potato tasted about how I remembered it, well above average for fast food. The gravy (which fortunately I asked for on the side- and they gave a giant side of it- about 4 ounces worth) was very unremarkable and unnecessary to use for anything. The cornbread was also as I remember, usual cornbread, given in a paper bag and cold by the time I got home (better reheated).

Certainly was a good deal at $5.99+0.35. It was definitely well over a pound of food. Regular price of 9.79 doesn't seem too out there, maybe a little steep.
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Re: Boston Market

Post by mbz321 »

I feel like if Boston Market was well ahead of it's time in terms of fast-casual restaurants. Over the years they have disappeared from my area as well (Philly suburbs, just about all the locations started off as Roy Rogers locations until they almost all but vanished in the mid-90s).

I actually happened to have a meal at one a few weeks ago (had a coupon for a free meal as I signed up for their app). The restaurant itself had exterior repaint a year or so ago, but they interior felt really dated and run down, and very oversized, not sure how many people actually dined in here even before COVID. Reviews for this location were pretty lackluster and I did have to wait about 10-15 minutes when I got there for an order that was placed well in advance. Despite that the food was delicious, even though they gave me some sort of bread that definitely was not cornbread. For free I definitely couldn't complain, but I think price was about $10 normally, which is on the pricier side of things.
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Re: Boston Market

Post by BillyGr »

mbz321 wrote: December 30th, 2020, 10:33 am I feel like if Boston Market was well ahead of it's time in terms of fast-casual restaurants. Over the years they have disappeared from my area as well (Philly suburbs, just about all the locations started off as Roy Rogers locations until they almost all but vanished in the mid-90s).

I actually happened to have a meal at one a few weeks ago (had a coupon for a free meal as I signed up for their app). The restaurant itself had exterior repaint a year or so ago, but they interior felt really dated and run down, and very oversized, not sure how many people actually dined in here even before COVID. Reviews for this location were pretty lackluster and I did have to wait about 10-15 minutes when I got there for an order that was placed well in advance. Despite that the food was delicious, even though they gave me some sort of bread that definitely was not cornbread. For free I definitely couldn't complain, but I think price was about $10 normally, which is on the pricier side of things.
That would make sense if it was an older location - when I was in the areas they were more often (or just when there were more of them), I remember they'd have a fair amount of eat in customers around the main mealtimes (lunch most likely was when I'd be near one). So they probably did fill much of that seating when they were newer, just not so much now (even before this year).
Also seemed at that time there were fairly frequent deals (such that I can't even really remember if the "regular" price back then was higher than other places) - that may have hurt them as well, as seems to often happen if a place in that format tries to cut back on the deals too much and people stop going as they only went because it was a good deal.
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Re: Boston Market

Post by storewanderer »

I wonder if this chain has made some changes recently that has improved the food or execution in the locations?

It appears Sun Capital sold them in April 2020 to some group called Rohan out of PA. This group also bought Corner Bakery in November 2020. Unit count seems to have stayed stable since then and the new ownership is talking expansion (we will see how that goes...).

Seems like Sun Capital handled Boston Market in a manner similar to Shopko. They kept it open, but they sure didn't do much other than that... virtually no unit growth at all, marketing seems to have disappeared, and constant unit closures took place under Sun Capital. Boston Market is odd in that most units are corporate owned, not franchises. The only unit growth they appear to have had in 2018 and 2019 was to open two units in TA Truck Stops in TX/LA. That actually seems like a quite good fit for this format as the truck stops have taken out full service restaurants over the years and flipped to fast food concepts. Truckers have been unhappy about the loss of the full service restaurants replaced by the fast food chains and the Boston Market product offering and menu is much closer to a sit down restaurant.
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Re: Boston Market

Post by pseudo3d »

storewanderer wrote: December 31st, 2020, 12:04 am I wonder if this chain has made some changes recently that has improved the food or execution in the locations?

It appears Sun Capital sold them in April 2020 to some group called Rohan out of PA. This group also bought Corner Bakery in November 2020. Unit count seems to have stayed stable since then and the new ownership is talking expansion (we will see how that goes...).

Seems like Sun Capital handled Boston Market in a manner similar to Shopko. They kept it open, but they sure didn't do much other than that... virtually no unit growth at all, marketing seems to have disappeared, and constant unit closures took place under Sun Capital. Boston Market is odd in that most units are corporate owned, not franchises. The only unit growth they appear to have had in 2018 and 2019 was to open two units in TA Truck Stops in TX/LA. That actually seems like a quite good fit for this format as the truck stops have taken out full service restaurants over the years and flipped to fast food concepts. Truckers have been unhappy about the loss of the full service restaurants replaced by the fast food chains and the Boston Market product offering and menu is much closer to a sit down restaurant.
Sun Capital is basically poison to retail, Marsh, The Limited, and a few others come to mind. I've never eaten at Boston Market, though, there were never in my area, and reading up on Wikipedia indicates that ownership under McDonald's (which poured money into Chipotle to make it a winner) was initially considering liquidating Boston Market for the real estate.
storewanderer
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Re: Boston Market

Post by storewanderer »

Tried this place again, this time the inside was open. So I went in. Deserted despite that I was there during a meal period. Sign on door said "cash only inside."

There is a big portable freezer taking up a parking space in front of the front entrance.

Went in. It was very clean inside. There are two hot food cases when you walk up. Tables are in front of the entire hot case line and cash register counter for distancing purposes (no plastic shields but the tables do the job; Dillards is set up that way too). Stickers on the floor for social distancing while waiting in line.

One of the two hot cases, the customer facing glass is gone from the unit and they have where the glass goes, wrapped with lots and lots of plastic wrap. All of the food in that case was in covered containers so you couldn't really see what was in there but some of the side items were in there.

The entire self serve beverage station was closed down with signs that said no self serve. Not clear if this is just shut off or broken but the drink cup is filled at the drive through behind the counter. El Pollo Loco and Raising Canes are the other two fast foods I've been inside in recent memory and both allow self serve drinks, as did a Wal Mart McDonalds I walked by but didn't purchase from last month.

Upon paying it became clear why it is "cash only inside" - the 3 pinpads at the 3 cash registers at the counter appeared to all be broken. What is funny is they had a sign posted about the coin shortage encouraging credit card payments... maybe that is an old sign.

Food was really good, again, and the employees were very friendly... but the lack of upkeep is really something they should fix. The service, food, and cleanliness were all excellent.
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