Boston Market owner Jay Pandya and his wife filed personal bankruptcy for a second time after the previous case was dismissed over insurance issues.

The first move came in December. However, a U.S. trustee filed a motion to dismiss the case because it appeared the couple owned properties for which they didn’t maintain insurance. Also, they failed to provide proof of insurance despite numerous requests over two weeks. The case officially closed on January 26.

The second bankruptcy was filed on February 9, and comes not too long after a federal judge awarded US Foods $12 million in damages against Boston Market after the chain fell behind on paying bills.

The filing lists $10 million to $50 million in assets and liabilities. According to court documents, Pandya owes $10 million to US Foods.

In April 2020, the real estate investor acquired Boston Market from Sun Capital Partners via his subsidiary, the Rohan Group of Companies. Since then, the chain has been embroiled in controversy, facing multiple legal disputes concerning unpaid invoices, rent, and employee wages. US Foods was the most prominent. The company terminated its distribution contract with the restaurant chain in 2023.

The financial turmoil has attracted the attention of governmental bodies. In August, the New Jersey Department of Labor mandated the closure of 27 Boston Market outlets following revelations of numerous violations of workers’ rights. These violations included over $600,000 in unpaid wages owed to 314 employees. Additionally, the department imposed approximately $1.2 million in other damages and over $731,700 in administrative penalties on the chain. Subsequently, these locations were permitted to resume operations after the outstanding wages were settled.

Last month Boston Market—amid legal battles and massive store closures—unveiled Boston Market Connect to attract more restaurant partners. The program eliminates buy-in requirements, offering flexible integration into an operator’s existing restaurant, deli, gas station, or other venue without franchise fees. Key features include comprehensive support, nontraditional store models, and expansion opportunities. Additionally, the chain announced a campaign introducing new menu items every six weeks, starting with Indian classics Chicken Tikka and Biryani.

The potential ramifications of Pandya’s personal bankruptcy on Boston Market’s restaurants remain uncertain. This isn’t the investor’s first encounter with financial distress. In 2020, he also took over ownership of Corner Bakery Cafe, which subsequently filed for bankruptcy in early 2023. SSCP Management, a franchisee of Sonic and Applebee’s, intervened by purchasing Corner Bakery Cafe out of bankruptcy for $15 million.

Founded in 1985, the chicken chain raced to roughly 1,200 locations over the next 12 years, but it was a story of one brand growing too fast. Boston Market filed bankruptcy in 1998 because of decreasing unit-level economics and large amounts of debt. Two years later, the company was acquired by McDonald’s. The burger giant held on to Boston Market until 2007 when it sold the restaurant to Sun Capital. 

Over the past several years, Boston Market has shuttered a significant number of its locations. It now has around 100 stores across the country.

Fast Casual, Finance, Legal, Story, Boston Market