But will it work? The troubles with Boston Market may have proved that people simply don't want wholesome fast food. However, McDonald's has been on the move under new CEO Jack Greenberg, aquiring Tex-Mex and pizza chains in the past year. And it's not taking too much of a risk if it can't make the 751 Boston Market franchises (which it snatched at a bargain basement price of $131 million) solvent again, it can easily convert some or all of them into McDonald's or other eateries for significantly less than the cost of building new premises. And, who knows, maybe Ronald McDonald will learn from Boston Market and those spongy McNuggets will more closely resemble real chicken.
One's a global superpower that can't seem to upgrade its image; the other was considered a upscale comer in the same market, but couldn't seem to take off. So on Wednesday McDonald's ate up Boston Chicken, Inc., the white-hot IPO of 1995 that turned out to be one of the all-time turkeys (and a couple of years ago changed the name of its outlets to Boston Market). The hope is that the world's largest restaurant chain can corner the high end of the fast-food market, while allowing the upstart to benefit from a global marketing infrastructure. At the same time, if Micky D's can pluck the rotisserie chicken chain from Chapter 11, the public may be spared further "go healthy" experiments such as the Arch Deluxe and the McLean sandwich. On the flip side, Boston Chicken, which fell into a free fall when it added sandwiches and kids' meals in an attempt to keep up with the Dave Thomases, could be allowed to focus on what it does best provide complete, home cookin'-like meals.