Goodbye to another place I used to like - Boston Market sucks now

First it was the counter person wanting to deliver my food to a table. Ok, I guess I can appreciate them wanting to make the place slightly more highbrow. But… I’m fully capable of carrying a plate of chicken 15 feet. Feels creepy to have somebody follow me to a table with my food.

Same for removing the trash bins and instead having a roving busboy. The problem there is the guy doesn’t come around too much, and now there’s nowhere to get rid of my refuse. Again, decent idea, not so great in execution.

But now I find two changes that will drive me away. Used to be a side was a side. Pick two with your meal and it’s all good. Not anymore. Now there are “premium sides” that cost more. And guess what? Two of the three of them are just the old sides that are now more expensive.

But the one that really galls me… No more napkins. That’s right - a restaurant that seves chicken you mostly eat with your hands… puts out no napkins. The dispenser is gone from the soft drink island where it used to live. Now it’s just what you get when you get your food.

Really? REALLY?

Buh-bye Boston Market. Nice knowing you. Also, I’m posting this using your wifi.

Haven’t been to a Boston Market in years, manly due to me moving and there is none around here but I did like them back then. It was nice because it was fast food that didn’t have a fast food taste to it, but more of a supermarket precooked ready to go taste instead.

Sounds like really odd changes. The only one that sort of makes sense is the premium sides as they like to make more money. Most of the time I would get a single side (IIRC this was not on the menu, but it was a cheaper option).

This is why I rarely eat at Boston Market. Every Boston Market around me has a supermarket nearby. I can get comparable food at a supermarket for half the price.

perhaps the napkins thing was local to the particular store

I’ve eaten at BM 3 times and every time it tasted like bad supermarket cafe food.

I have a suspicion that when a restaurant that serves greasy food eaten with the fingers starts being stingy with napkins, it’s a sign of a death spiral. I mean, for all I know it was a one-time decision meant to goose one quarterly earnings report and now they’re stuck with it. But it suggests that a company is in trouble to begin with, and it’ll only make things worse by engendering bad will.

They’re procuring more “customer service” to get tips. A lot of the counter places around here are now doing things like bringing the food to the table, coming by with refills, ect. to get tips.

Unfortunately, that was one of the things they had going for them. Didn’t have to tip, or at least not the full amount.

I quit going to the local BM long ago: the food was yummy, everything was just fine, but the price was too high for the amount of food provided. Yummy, but small and expensive portions.

I haven’t been to one in years. The food tasted very processed to me. These changes sound like a bad sign for them, though.

I miss their ham.

That said, yes, the “let me bring your food out to your table and where would you like to sit?” is just blah. I’ve actually interceded and told the person taking my cash that I’ll take my plate myself.

Our local BM has an offer that if you eat any day of the week, you get twofers on Saturday. They even take coupons on the other days of the week so it ends up pretty cheap averaged out.

The third point (charging more for “premium” sides, which used to be called “regular” sides) is a way to cope with rising food and supply costs without simply upping the menu prices.

The other stuff - especially the napkins thing - is utter crap, and a bad sign for the chain.

What purplehorseshoe said. Everyone is raising prices. If they’re only raising prices on certain items, good for them. There’s a BM by my house but I haven’t eaten at it in decades, so make of that what you will.

I first went to Boston Market more than twenty years ago, around the time of their famous IPO. (It was the most successful IPO of 1993. Of course five years later, the chain was bankrupt, but still.) And then I went to one about ten or fifteen years ago. I always got the quarter chicken dark, which meant a thigh and drumstick portion along with a couple of sides. I noticed that the chicken leg shrunk in those years. That was unfortunate, as it seemed a better meal than most fast food restaurants served.

Panera used to have Items and Premium Items. The basics were REALLY basic, like a piece of ham and a slice of cheese on some bread, while the Premium Items included optional upgrades like flavor. Now there are something like two or three levels of Premium/Super Premium/whatever. And the portion sizes have dropped dramatically. But the kids’ menu is probably the biggest ripoff. $5.99 for a grilled cheese, consisting of a slice of Kraft Singles between cheap white bread that costs them probably a quarter, plus a ten cent Gogurt.

I’m with most of the above - Boston Market was a nice idea, but the food has that pre-prepared, microwaved, held-for-hours cafeteria taste and texture. Fast food has stayed with the quick-prep basics for a reason. Attempts to go to dinner meat and sides, pasta, etc. have had indifferent results because you can’t match the cooking and prep needs to market/customer demand without compromising something… and that “something” is usually some magick from the depths of the Sysco catalog, like foods that can be flash-microwaved or held for hours.

The really funny thing about BM to me is that they rolled them out in Northern California, maybe 20-50 stores… as Boston Chicken, the old name. They had not finished peeling the wrappers off the new stores before they had to be closed and rebranded with all new Boston Market materials.

Did not show a lot of foresight.

The name change came with the chain’s purchase by McDonald’s, IIRC. That explains other things, too.

McDonald’s bought the chain in 2000 and sold it in 2007, so it hasn’t been involved in about eight years. So I don’t think you can blame them for the current state of the restaurants.

When I was in the hospital, a friend brought me some food from Boston Market. I ate a little of it, then returned to hospital food.

It occurs to me that having a name that is commonly abbreviated is perhaps turning out to be a problem (it is an unfortunate abbreviation, after all. Maybe they should do like the Boston Patriots did, and start calling themselves New England Market).

It’s been about a decade since I worked at Boston Market, and the “premium sides” concept was already around then, so it’s not that new a concept. There were only a few sides that were extra, though - IIRC, it was just chicken salad and the soups that cost more. It was about a year before I left that they started adding the rotating entrees and things to the menu - in my day, everything was still based around the meat-and-threes platters and the sandwiches with chicken, turkey, ham and meatloaf. We definitely weren’t doing table service or using busboys back then, either - the most airs we deigned to put on was leaving some fancy glass ketchup bottles out on the soda counter.

They never expanded up to the part of the country where I live now, so I haven’t experienced their decline, but according to Google Maps the location where I worked is now a bank. (Funny enough, it was also a bank before it was a Boston Market, something which we learned one day when one of my co-workers flipped a mystery switch in the walk-in freezer that didn’t seem to go to anything, only to discover, courtesy of an armed police response a few minutes later, that it was a silent alarm that had never been deactivated.)

Also, one time I was working the front counter on a Sunday afternoon and I served lunch to Ken Shamrock and his family.