TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — State labor officials have temporarily shut down more than two dozen Boston Market restaurants in New Jersey after finding multiple violations of workers’ rights, including more than $600,000 in back wages owed to 314 employees.
A stop-work order was issued Tuesday by the Department of Labor against 27 restaurants across New Jersey. The state also imposed nearly $2.6 million in penalties against the firm.
The Associated Press sent an email seeking comment to Boston Market’s corporate office in Golden, Colorado, on Thursday. There are 31 Boston Market restaurants in New Jersey and 310 nationwide, according to its website.
The company has requested a hearing challenging the state’s findings, labor officials said, but a hearing date has not yet been scheduled.
State officials say the investigation began in November, when a worker at a restaurant in Mercer County filed a complaint with the labor department. Since then, nearly three dozen additional complaints have been received naming several Boston Market locations in New Jersey.
The labor department’s initial findings included citations for unpaid or late payment of wages, hindering the investigation, failure to pay minimum wage, records violations and failure to pay earned sick leave.
A closer look at Boston Market’s slow death
After being sold to Rohan Group in 2020, fast-casual restaurant chain Boston Market quietly faded into obscurity until many ongoing lawsuits against the company were brought to light
Joanna Fantozzi | Aug 11, 2023
Before Boston Market was sold to Engage Brands under the Rohan Group of Companies in 2020, the American rotisserie chicken chain was undergoing a brand transformation that was supposed to breathe new life into the struggling Colorado-based restaurant company.
But now, four years later, Boston Market’s Denver headquarters have been seized by local authorities and many of the company’s locations are closing, have been abandoned, or have been forced to stock their stores with supermarket food as vendor contracts run out.
As of August 2023, Boston Market is staring down a growing pile of lawsuits from unpaid vendors and former employees. According to comments from both current and former Boston Market executives, the new owner has “run the business into the ground,” and it’s only a matter of time before the chain dies out completely.
How did Boston Market get to this point?
As Boston Market — founded in 1985 as Boston Chicken — expanded rapidly in the mid- to late-90s, popularized by its Thanksgiving-style meals and seemingly healthier options, the company hit some roadblocks pretty early on.
In 1998, Boston Market filed for bankruptcy and was then purchased by McDonald’s in 2000, before the company was eventually sold to private equity firm Sun Capital Partners in 2007 … READ MORE.