GOLDEN, Colo. -- Boston Chicken here has changed its name to Boston Market and is introducing ham, meat loaf and rotisserie-roasted turkey to its menu. Deli sandwiches, featuring hand-carved turkey, ham and meat loaf, also will be added, a company spokesman said.
"We've always said that Boston Chicken is more than just chicken," said Saad Nadhir, vice chairman of Boston Chicken. "Adding ham, turkey and meat loaf is a way to leverage our terrific locations, increase customer frequency and stay ahead of customer demand."
Supermarkets can learn from what Boston Chicken is doing, said one retailer.
"They are a very, very progressive company that does a lot of market research and R and D. Their customers are obviously telling them that they want more variety," said Fred DiQuattro, director of deli, bakery, seafood and food service for Riser Foods, Bedford Heights, Ohio. The company operates 39 Rini-Rego Supermarkets, five of which have food courts.
DiQuattro also said the particular varieties of entrees the restaurant chain has chosen to add are significant from an operational standpoint.
"Turkey is complemented by the same side dishes that rotisserie chicken is. Mashed potatoes and gravy, for example. And meat loaf holds well," DiQuattro said. And the word "market" in the chain's new name connotes "fresh, quality, and value," DiQuattro added. "I'm sure their market research people told them the same thing ours did." The Riser Foods units that have food courts are called Rini-Rego Marketplaces.
While there are no Boston Chicken outlets currently in direct competition with Rini-Rego Supermarkets, DiQuattro said, "I'd welcome such competition. It would show our customers what a good value our food is. We, too, have good quality rotisserie chicken and other entrees and side dishes, for less money."
Just the word "market" in the restaurant chain's new name "adds to the blurring of distinction between restaurant and supermarket," said Tom Pierson, professor of food marketing at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.
"And, to me, it gives it more of a take-out emphasis," Pierson added. "This is another example of restaurants getting very serious about take-out. I think the combination of that new name which makes you think of a food store and the broadened menu presents a new challenge for supermarkets as well as for the restaurant industry."
The name change and new products will be implemented market by market. By the end of the year, virtually all stores will have changed their name and added the new entrees, Nadhir said.
"Customers told us that ham, rotisserie-roasted turkey and meat loaf are a logical extension of our fresh, convenient meal image," he added.
DiQuattro at Riser Foods said, "They're about to do what we've been doing with our menu. Appealing to the whole family. Mom might want turkey, not chicken, and the kids might want meat loaf or something else."
The chain's outlets in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Des Moines, Iowa, have already undergone the name change, and more than 225 of the chain's outlets are already serving at least one of the new entrees. The company has marked stores in Chicago; Toledo, Ohio; Greensboro, N.C.; Denver; Dallas; Tucson, Ariz. and Phoenix to be among the first to convert. The conversion will include new signs, menu boards, sandwich carving stations and cooking equipment to accommodate the new products.