Depending on where you live in the United States, you may or may not be familiar with Boston Market, the fast-casual restaurant that specializes in some of the best rotisserie chicken and comforting side dishes. While the national chain was operating 1,200 locations before declaring bankruptcy in 1998 (per Restaurant Business), the surviving brand still maintains over 300 stores in 25 states (via Boston Market). The restaurant heavily advertises itself as a family meal provider, offering full dinners you’d be proud to serve at your table.
Although the patrons seem pleased, the bigger question is whether or not the employees are satisfied working there. As we wondered what it’s like to prepare and sell the vast array of Boston Market menu items, we dove into reviews and experiences of the staff — past and present — who list Boston Market on their resumes. From first-time job applicants to corporate analysts, we’ve gathered the intel on everything from the deepest discounts to the dirtiest jobs. Read on as we reveal what it’s really like to work at Boston Market.
Customer service is a priority
The fast-food industry thrives on customer volume, churning out as many items as possible throughout the day. Unfortunately, such an environment can easily result in an emphasis on speed and quantity over true quality control, leading to plenty of wrong orders and questionable bites at fast-food restaurants worldwide. This is one area where Boston Market employees say their brand truly shines.
One crew member from New York City who only gave the company two stars as an employer overall (per Simply Hired), still admitted that the restaurant excels at handling customer concerns, praising management for providing great training in customer satisfaction. Of course, one great manager can be an exception in any company, but other Boston Market employees echo this sentiment. An otherwise unhappy shift leader from Chicago, Illinois, who left a scathing one-star review of the chain, also recognized that the three years spent there were worthwhile if only for the great customer service experience they gained.
Even Boston Market dishwashers, who don’t typically engage directly with clients, rave that the restaurant’s customer service is great (via Indeed). These glowing reviews demonstrate that the customer-friendly culture is present across positions, regardless of other flaws Boston Market may have.
Customers make some strange requests
One of the fundamental tenets of exceptional customer service is operating under the attitude that the customer is always right. According to Indeed reviews from staff, this is agreed to be part of the brand’s success. Of course, for employees, there are definite downsides to this philosophy, particularly in the food service industry.
A former shift supervisor from Shrewsbury, New Jersey, complained that the long list of Boston Market menu items provided too much room for customers to concoct complicated orders and request items prepared or served in atypical ways (via Indeed). In an environment that thrives on speed, it’s understandable that this could be more than a mere nuisance. We’ve all been out to eat with picky eaters or people with restrictive dietary needs who require special orders, but some customers go overboard with customizations.
One Boston Market employee told Zippia that a customer once demanded a meatloaf bowl topped with cinnamon apples and chicken noodle soup. While even thinking about such a unique dish may churn some stomachs, Boston Market’s pro-customer ethos means you can have your way, no matter how unprecedented your inventions may be.
It’s easy to become a manager
If you’re seeking a job in fast food and are looking for a reliable schedule that pays more than minimum wage, chances are you may be angling for a management-level position. While these roles are often limited at fast-food restaurants, Boston Market employees say they’re actually pretty easy to come by at the chain. One manager told CareerBliss that even the interview process is easy when seeking a management job, describing a particularly informal process with questions that focus on personality and character.
Of course, obtaining an interview should require prerequisites like acquiring a certain amount of experience in the industry. However, another Boston Market manager told Zippia that it’s only a matter of months within the company before you can land a role in management, offering plenty of opportunity for fast-tracked growth. More specifically, an employee in Novi, Michigan, described being promoted to manager after just six months and receiving a further promotion to shift supervisor a mere two months later (via CareerBliss).
Two management promotions in under a year is nothing to sneer at. Since this sort of experience doesn’t appear to be an anomaly at Boston Market, that makes this restaurant chain a solid choice for those seeking more serious positions in fast food.
It may be better not to be management
It’s said that nothing worthwhile comes easy, so it’s fair to wonder why it’s seemingly so simple to reach management-level positions at Boston Market. The answer, unfortunately, is a bit of a bummer. According to the chain’s current and former employees, these roles are regularly available because they border on unbearable for those who land them.
There are several levels of management within Boston Market restaurants, and it appears the outlook is bleak for all. A shift manager from Tucson, Arizona, told Simply Hired that most of the actual management tasks such as paperwork and computer reporting were easy enough. However, too much time on the job was spent personally covering staff members who called out, once they gave up on finding last-minute replacements.
Unfortunately, even general managers seem to have it rough at Boston Market, so there may be no hope for sunnier skies at the top of the ladder. One operations employee told Comparably that area managers don’t support the general managers at all, which would certainly make it difficult to lead a team at a given store. With that style of management coming from above, it’s not hard to understand that support becomes even weaker the farther one falls down the management chain.
Utility may be the roughest position
So management may not be the greatest place to land at Boston Market according to employees, but maybe you aren’t looking for such a serious commitment anyway. If you’re considering the rest of Boston Market’s traditional positions, employee reviews indicate that you may want to steer clear of utility (more commonly known as dishwashing) if you want to avoid the roughest gig.
To start with, there are various physical pitfalls of the utility position. Based on helpful hints from other dishwashers advising a new employee on Reddit, this position brings with it skin irritation, great potential for slips and falls, ruined clothing, a hot steamy work environment, and the possibility of temporary loss of feeling in the fingertips. An experienced utility employee at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, location told Simply Hired that the job is not only taxing on the body but is also the loneliest position in the company. They described days spent almost entirely alone with no one to talk to or interact with while they had to perform some of the dirtiest and frankly yuckiest tasks in the restaurant.
Free food isn’t for everyone
Just about no one takes a restaurant position, fast food or otherwise, without hopes of regularly scoring free bites from clandestine snacks to break-time meals. Plenty of restaurants provide this, but Boston Market employees say it isn’t quite the perk you’d hope for. Still, some positions come with free food or else a discount of varying degrees.
An entry-level employee reported on Niche that employees do not receive free meals at Boston Market. At the most basic level this appears to be true, but according to other reports, it’s not the whole story. A former shift supervisor in Manchester, New Hampshire, told Glassdoor that managers receive free meals on the job, which suggests it’s a matter of hierarchy rather than a blanket policy.
So what exactly do those who don’t find themselves seated in the manager’s office receive? According to another former Boston Market employee, the general employee discount is 50% off. While that isn’t too shabby, we agree that a free meal during or after a shift would be a lot more satisfying.
Menu changes can be a challenge
A long menu poses more challenges than just the ones that come from overly demanding or inventive patrons. Employees tend to complain about it a fair deal when describing the experience of working at Boston Market. Most simply put, one employee told Niche that the restaurant’s penchant for altering the menu required frequent adjustments on their part, which is understandably a potential annoyance for anyone hoping to succeed with routine tasks.
Unfortunately, other employees describe this change as harder on customers, in turn creating compounding issues for the staff left to handle them. A former general manager from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, described the customer base as consisting primarily of regulars who were annoyed and confused by the constant introduction and expiration of limited-time offers (LTOs), leading to unnecessary stress for all involved (via Indeed).
Meanwhile, a shift manager in Ohio lamented that customers were never satisfied with explanations of why their favorite items disappeared from the menu while prices for others increased. In a culture dedicated to providing top customer service, that’s truly a difficult position to be placed in for customer-facing staff.
It’s far from fast paced
Most restaurant jobs are described as hectic, non-stop, or at the very least, fast-paced. Fast-food restaurants even include "fast" in their category label, so you might assume them to be even more speed-centric than the rest of the industry. However, employees at Boston Market say that just isn’t the case at this particular chain, and we bet you’re just as surprised by that as we are.
According to a Glassdoor review, a former sides cook in Lansing, Michigan, loved their time working at Boston Market for more than three years, primarily because it was rarely crowded and therefore never overwhelming to keep up with the demand. While we’re sure this isn’t something ownership would ever want to hear, we can definitely understand how that could be considered a dream situation for someone who doesn’t bore easily and is looking for a mindless gig.
Unfortunately, plenty of people can’t stand monotony, so this quality of life at Boston Market may not be universally appreciated. Not to mention, a 2010 study published in Psychological Sciences found that most people do better if they are mentally busy instead of bored. As one Redditor ranted, an 8-hour shift at Boston Market can feel endless, packed with unbearable boredom that feels like it may never end.
Some locations suffer from insufficient equipment
It’s almost impossible to succeed at a task if you don’t have the proper tools for the job. At multiple Boston Market locations, employees regularly complain about the condition of restaurant equipment. It generally leads to unfavorable reviews of working at the chain, which is understandable when you consider the stress of meeting customer and manager demands with ineffective equipment.
A former shift supervisor in Columbus, Ohio, left an average three-star review on Glassdoor, praising the pleasant and respectful work environment but countering it by noting that the dated equipment may have contributed to the lack of employees. A shift supervisor without staff is in trouble, so ineffective equipment can certainly be a sore spot. Coincidentally, another former shift supervisor from Rochester, New York, lamented that there was no support for Boston Market employees who were left trying to serve customers with completely broken equipment. We can certainly sympathize with these frustrating situations that practically set staff up to fail.
Corporate culture is no fun
To some, office politics and corporate culture are a fun daily challenge of fitting in and rising to the top of social and career ladders. For many, this is a far less agreeable part of an office job. While you might think that fast-food restaurants have little to offer here, you’d be forgetting that most national brands have a corporate office. Boston Market Corporation’s headquarters is in Golden, Colorado, and these employees have certainly added their voices to the chorus of reviews found online — they’re not good.
Okay, it’s actually not entirely bad news. A former Boston Market financial analyst described a headquarters with a workout room in a nice neighborhood of the Denver metro area. Unfortunately, this same employee had nothing else nice to say about working for the company, leaving a lowly one-star review that complained of poor communication from upper management and no clarity of expectations.
A former accounts payable employee from Boston Market’s Golden, Colorado, headquarters also left a one-star review, seconding the notion of poor communication and further blaming it on the owner being located in another state entirely. The employee added that the corporate culture has all but disappeared now that many positions are outsourced to remote workers in India (via Glassdoor).
The holidays bring all the hours
Whether you’re a student looking for extra spending cash or an adult with bills to pay and mouths to feed, you’re likely taking a fast-food job because you need the money, which means you need hours. It’s a common refrain in the restaurant industry that workers don’t get as many hours as they want, and Boston Market is no exception as evidenced by employee comments (via Indeed). But a notable exception at Boston Market is during the holiday season.
The holidays bring tons of extra business to the retail industry, and that entails some spillover for the fast-food industry. Feeding scads of hungry and exhausted shoppers means that Boston Market is considerably busier at this time of year. "Really, really, really busy," according to one former employee who left a five-star review on Glassdoor. For those looking for extra hours to support all that holiday shopping, employees report that Boston Market gives tons of overtime beginning in November as diners start to order Thanksgiving meals. Unfortunately, those same employees complain that hours are cut from 40 per week to something in the range of 12 to 20 hours once January comes, lamenting that full-time schedules are only granted during the holiday rush (via Indeed).
They can get away with a lot
This one is something of a double-edged sword. There are certainly loads of employees who would prefer a workplace with little structure and plenty of leniency from management, but if that lack of oversight leads to failures in business, it could spell the end of the company and the job that came with it. Think of this like a parasite that ultimately kills its host … not that we’d call lazy employees parasites. At least not directly. Boston Market has famously struggled to survive in recent years, leading to a sale of the brand in 2020 (per Restaurant Business), and that may have been at least partially due to this very reason.
Since employees sometimes boast about or exaggerate how much they can get away with, it’s worth turning to the words of management instead. One Boston Market hourly manager in Tempe, Arizona, said employees can call out constantly without fear of losing their jobs because management simply doesn’t care what happens in the restaurant (via Indeed). A shift manager in Yonkers, New York, confirmed that management does nothing to discipline employees who violate policy. In fact, employees have been known to close the store whenever they feel like it without suffering repercussions. To be fair, this manager points out that store-level management seems unable to control employees because upper-level management binds their hands and always takes the side of subordinate employees.