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Broken Wing Boston Market was supposed to be the McDonald's of the '90s. So why did the home-meal-replacement pioneer end up laying an egg?

By Kurt Helin

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

From the time its rotisserie first turned, Boston Chicken hadpeople salivating. Soccer moms, working singles and familiesnationwide flocked to the stores to buy this healthy alternative tofried chicken. Wall Street investors ate up Boston Chicken, too,buying its stock at ever-increasing prices. By 1993, 10 years afterthe company started, franchises were hatching across the country atbreakneck speed. With the restaurant chain's name changed toBoston Market, company officials and many industry publicationspredicted a rosy future.

But within five years, the Chicken had been fried.

On October 5, Boston Market entered bankruptcy court to file forChapter 11 reorganization; the closing of 178 locations soonfollowed. Franchise purchasers were plucked, profits were down, andthe company could not get out from under its debt.

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