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Tastes Like Chicken

McDonald's adds yet another nugget to its family.

Restaurant giant McDonald's recently announced its planned acquisition of the Boston Market chain of stores for $173.5 million. "We see great potential for Boston Market. It's a well-established brand with excellent employees, quality products, loyal customers and growth potential," says Lisa Howard, a spokesperson for McDonald's.

Relying on the strength of Boston Market's menu, McDonald's isn't planning any functional or physical changes to the existing 751 company-owned and 108 franchisee-owned Boston Market restaurants. Any major changes will come in the form of expertise. As Howard points out, McDonald's has a vast global supply infrastructure and the "experience of running a multiunit restaurant business with a standard of high quality."

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1998, Boston Market, a subsidiary of Boston Chicken Inc., strove to turn things around and increased store sales, which made them an attractive commodity to McDonald's. "The Boston Market family has put the chain back on positive footing in the last year or so," says Howard.

The only hurdle McDonald's has yet to overcome is the approval of the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Bankruptcy court. The deal is scheduled to close in late spring.

This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »