This Boston Market Is Seriously Out Of Everything

Reader OutKastz sent us more photos from a post-apocalyptic Boston Market where they ran out of meat and almost all soft drinks. The reason? This weekend’s dollar coupon fiasco.

OutKastz says:

They did offer to sell me 3 sides for $1 though. They also gave me a free regular sized soda cup. Then I got to the fountain and knew why. Even the ice was broken.

This is sad.


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  1. hills says:

    This whole Boston Market promo has me wishing there were one here in Oregon!

  2. DefineStatutory says:

    Years ago, whe i was a wee lad, I worked as an “assistant manager” at KFC. We routinly had no warning on promos like this, often times only finding out that something big was coming by seeing the ad in the paper, or receiving the coupon in the mail.

    By that point, it was too late to adjust our deliveries to make sure we would have enough product to sell. This was pre-innanet induced hysteria level issues, so I can see how this would be 10 times worse.

  3. bloggerX says:

    Are those coupons still good anybody???

  4. lukesdad says:

    Why was I under the impression that Boston Market went out of business like 10 years ago?

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Even though I hate Boston Market, I am so hungry right now I could eat a few sides and fill my cup with Coke Zero (which looks to be one of the only taps working, from the looks of that photo above).

    I lost my iPhone this morning and a wonderful, good samaritan picked it up. Unfortunately, she worked a pretty good distance from my office so I had to swap trains and then I got lost on my way there, and ohhh boy.

    • winshape says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Yay for good Samaritans! Did you have pictures of your kid (or someone else’s kid) on it per Consumerist’s recommendation to facilitate its return?

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: *raised eyebrow* *facepalm* *head desk*

      Thats how my reaction when to that comment. How did you manage to get lost on the DC metro system? I’m not a native and even I dont find it hard to navigate.

      (Happens to the best of us, i know. I once took a train to the wrong direction in Mumbai, and got utterly confused because I thought the train was going east, but it was going west, and it led to all sorts of confusion till I finally figured it out. Lost like an hour getting back on track.)

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @MostlyHarmless: No, no, I got through the metro just fine. I’m a pro! I got lost after I left the metro and walked in the wrong direction because there were no signs pointing me in the right direction, so I just picked one. And I was wearing heels. And it was all uneven streets and terrible cab drivers who insisted on not braking for pedestrians.

        @winshape: No, no kids. Husband is my wallpaper though. I’m not sure that would have otherwise facilitated a return.

  6. catnapped says:

    Maybe t his was a Going Out of Business sale?

  7. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    That Boston Market looks like it was ransacked and pilfered.

    I really like their pot-pies.. they’re really good.. and the mac-n-cheese.

    I didn’t go by my Boston Market to see if any chaos went down there, but I saw cars in the parking lot on my way home yesterday so I guess people can still eat there.

  8. PLATTWORX says:

    I hope those at Boston Market corporate are seeing these photos and bursting into tears at the horrid damage this promotion has done to their brand.

    Stores without chicken is bad enough, stores posting hand made signs saying “NO MEAT” is amazing. Do they not have an emergency plan to send someone to a local butcher or supermarket when you run out of food and a delivery can’t be obtained?????

    • remington870_20ga says:

      @PLATTWORX: Thats what I dont get. Back in the day when I worked at a food establishment, we had lists of other places we would trade food with or just run to the grocery store for more supplies.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @PLATTWORX: Doing that would probably kill their profit margin, and the cooks might not even know how to properly prepare the unhomogenized Official Store Food, so there’s a risk of tasty things like salmonella from undercooked chicken. It sounds ridiculous, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  9. CharissaCowart says:

    I agree Zacox, I wonder why they weren’t stocked up prior to the big discount. It seems like simply a good business decision – to have more than enough inventory when you plan to give most of it away at a highly discounted price.

    I hope they are able to bounce back!

  10. Feezybeezy says:

    I went to Boston Market for the first time in a long time this weekend to take advantage of the coupon. The store I went to had plenty of food, and allowed its customers to use as many coupons as they wanted. One customer behind me had 12 coupons, and the store manager was fine with it!

  11. PAConsumerist says:

    3 sides, and a free soda, for a $1.00?? The hell with the chicken. Get three tubs of that sweet, creamy spinach, and grab a cool light lemonade (the soda is still cool when it comes out of the dispeser), drive across the street to your local supermarket, grab a rotisserie chicken there for $5, and head on home to eat happy, and ahead of the game. Sheesh, some people can’t see good deals when they fall into their laps

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      @PAConsumerist: While the lemonade may be OK if the Ice is broken, none of the soda is likely to be any good (even if they have it). When the ice is down, the system loses the cooling that a full ice chamber provides, and the carbonation tends to dissipate right away. I HATE a flat warm soda, to the point that I once returned a meal at Carl’s Jr because their ice machine was broken! I want my Diet Coke fizzy and COLD.

    • working class Zer0 says:

      @PAConsumerist: Thats a sweet deal “3 sides and a drink for $1.00” at least they made an honest effort to pacify the customers.
      That being said, I tried Boston Market twice, I have no desire to eat at one again.

  12. TheOrtega says:

    Looks like a Burger King that used to be in Milwaukee’s Ghetto; it was a drug front.

    I REALLY like Boston markets pot pies, everything else seems to expensive for what it is.

  13. discounteggroll says:

    people must hate diet/lite drinks at that location.

    on a side note, I have never seen a 1:1 ration of sugar-based drinks to their sugar-free enemies on a dispenser. ever

    • dvdchris says:

      @discounteggroll: Depends on the market. Generally, the more upscale the location, the better diet (and other alternative higher priced) drinks sell.
      On the other end of the spectrum, the full sugar drinks account for most of the sales at locations on the other end of the economic spectrum, and at some of those places you literally cannot give away diet drinks.

  14. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    I remember when Luby’s was giving out $5 off any meal coupons about two years ago. It made local news here in Houston after they reneged on the offer because it got out of hand. These things are a waste of money for the owners. The unemployed hippies (redundant?) who took advantage of this offer will never be back.

  15. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    The coupon was intended for a finite group of people. They should have put that in the fine print and added some verification scheme.

  16. gtsports says:

    Apparently Coke Zero doesn’t taste just like Coke.

  17. cmdrsass says:

    The internet has ruined these kinds of promotions. Thanks, basement-dwelling leeches!

    • dvddesign says:


      …says the basement dwelling Internet leech.

      Seriously the VIP thing is just something to get on a marketing mailing list. It’s not a defensible “club” for exclusive members who shop frequently.

  18. drjayphd says:

    Amateurs. One time about 10, 11 years ago, when I was working at Boston Market, we ran out of ham, chicken, turkey and meatloaf during the dinner rush, and we didn’t even need any dollar-meal coupons. Guess who was on drive-thru.

    (Needless to say, the assistant manager on duty wasn’t long for that place.)

  19. Dukebruno says:

    The BM by me (nice name for a restaurant, by the way) used to run out of chicken all the time. After it happened to me on the second or third consecutive visit I never went back. That was probably 5 years ago. The place is still in business though. I guess other people were more tolerant of the No Chicken problem.

  20. coraspartan says:

    I used the $1 coupons on two occasions at two separate Boston Markets in my area last week and had no problems whatsoever. I hit one of them at lunch and there was no line–I couldn’t believe it. The other one we hit for dinner and had about a 10 minute wait in line. The upside of waiting: the woman in front of me had an 80s lion mane head of hair and I got a pic of it with my phone. hehe

  21. Raekwon says:

    @zacox: Often the franchisees are notified and vote down these promotions. Corporate decides to go ahead with them anyway and chaos ensues. I read that the current BK $1 double cheeseburger deal was voted down by franchise owners as was the earlier Quiznos promo fiasco.

  22. Veeber says:

    @zacox: It could be that they don’t have enough room to store all the meat. I’m sure there is some maximum capacity in fridge space and even in the ovens. You can only put out so much food at once and the increase in traffic, especially since the increase is not spread evenly, could sell out a store’s supply.

  23. kcvaliant says:

    @zacox: Sorry I disagree, all the cheapskates out there that went and downloaded the coupon were never going to shop there after unless they got these kind of deals..

  24. full.tang.halo says:

    @Raekwon: +1 that the franchisees vote these down. I’ve seen the sales numbers and the chaos/scammers in the field that these promotions, bring out. Franchisees take the hit in $$$ and when things go wrong it’s again the individual stores that get put up as failing, not corporate for screwing it up by doing a promotion that marketing loves, but the actual front line owners and employees hate.

  25. zacox says:

    @Raekwon: Franchisees are given the final word though. They ultimately decide if they can handle it financially and logistically. This is manifest in the fine print of all of these promotions. They generally say “Participation may vary.”

    @kcvaliant: What you call a cheapskate, the business world calls savvy shoppers. And they know sometimes a crazy deal with loss potential is all it takes to get warm bodies in the door. The idea is to introduce as many people as possible to your product in the hopes that they will become regular customers.

    Think about the numbers for a minute. Let’s say the average meal at Boston Market is $10. It could be more, it could be less. Lets also say that the average Boston Market customer shops there 18 times a year. Let’s also say that this promotion converts 5% of the redeemers into regular customers.

    That means that for every 100 promotions redeemed, which may have cost Boston Market $4 in food each ($400 total), there are now 5 regular customers paying $180 each per year, or $900. So, the cost for this promotion may be high, but the benefit is $500 in just the first year, $900 in every year after that.

    I run a pizza restaurant and I do this all the time. I give away a free pizza to people who aren’t my customers and they love it and about 15% wind up being regular customers.

    @Kogenta: Regarding the supply chain at Boston Market…

    McDonald’s bought them in 2000. Though they sold Boston Market to a private equity firm in 2007, I have no doubt that they thoroughly McDonaldized the supply chain in the meantime. This means that they are generally flexible like their former parent, and they are receiving everything, including their soft drink mixes from their own distribution center. So, it’s unlikely that they are waiting that long for soft drink replenishment.

    @Veeber: Precisely, though I don’t think it was a matter of capacity as much as limiting the loss that each franchisee would sustain. Usually, promotions like this say “while supplies last” in addition to “participation may vary”.

  26. friendlynerd says:

    @Applekid: I thought the change from Boston Chicken to Market was mainly because they were selling other meats. Now they’re not even doing that? Way to fail, BM.

  27. Smashville says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: You didn’t even comment on the Kindle story from last week…

    Although checking his comment history, he’s like the king of blaming the OP.

  28. dantsea says:

    @kcvaliant: I think it also drives away some of the regularly visiting customers as well. That’s a great thing to do in this economic climate, bet the business that a bunch of gimmee-grabbers are going to stick around and send your dependable regulars out into the neighborhood to find other options.

  29. PLATTWORX says:


    However, by running out of food the franchise (who most people think is corporate owned and don’t know the difference) makes the entire Boston Market brand look bad.

    If you go to Boston Market and they have “no meat” and you can’t use your coupon, will you bother ever going back? Probably not. Not a very bright move!

    That said, I once had a Ruby Tuesday tell me they were out of cola. I did ask a manager nicely why they did not just go buy a case at the local supermarket. He agreed that it is their policy to do so when food runs short in an emergency with petty cash. Not sure why Boston Market didn’t do SOMETHING.

  30. TheWillow says:

    @nybiker: The T started in 1895. Not a huge leap… we were more talking about city planning and the Grid structure of NYC versus Boston’s method of creating roads based on the paths sheep traveled.