BOSTON CHICKEN LICENSES H.J. HEINZ TO OFFER GROCERIES

GOLDEN, Colo. -- Boston Chicken, working under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has found a possible new profit center in the supermarket.The operator of Boston Market restaurants has announced a 10-year agreement with H.J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, to license its family of trademarks to Heinz for the worldwide manufacture and sale of packaged grocery food products. The trademarks include Boston Market,

GOLDEN, Colo. -- Boston Chicken, working under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has found a possible new profit center in the supermarket.

The operator of Boston Market restaurants has announced a 10-year agreement with H.J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, to license its family of trademarks to Heinz for the worldwide manufacture and sale of packaged grocery food products. The trademarks include Boston Market, Boston Chicken, and Boston Market Home Style Foods, according to Karen Rugen, spokeswoman for the chain.

"This is a very good deal for Boston Chicken, [since] it opens up a whole new revenue stream for us," she said.

Specific products and locations for test-marketing of the products have not been determined. Officials at Heinz were reluctant to talk about the venture, noting that it is very early in the process to discuss specifics.

"We're looking at every possibility," said Debbie Foster, Heinz spokeswoman, adding that in-store testing of items selected for the line could begin by the end of this year.

The pact came to light only because Boston Market is petitioning for approval of the agreement in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona, where the operator filed its voluntary petition on Oct. 5, 1998. Such court filings are open to public review.

Under the agreement, Heinz would pay the restaurant operator an undisclosed royalty fee based on sales. It is separate and independent from Boston Chicken's restaurant business, noted Rugen.