Despite the economic challenges of last year and the enormous impact they left on the restaurant industry as a whole, Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar announced its franchise system still achieved an outstanding 20 percent new unit/restaurant increase and is now on pace to double in size by the end of 2023.

Additionally, the Dallas-based, casual-dining restaurant franchise popular for its incredible food and lively atmosphere is experiencing higher sales in 2021 exceeding 2019 comparable, pre-COVID numbers while also opening four new restaurants in 2020.

“What we and our owners accomplished in 2020 is nothing short of incredible,” says Ryan Reeves, vice president of franchise sales and development for Boston’s. “Like many people said, the realities of 2020 were unprecedented, and we had to create a plan of action that not only prioritized the survival and success of our current franchisees but also put us in position to grow once we came out on the other side. We were able to devise a plan that did just that, and we couldn’t be more thankful for and appreciative of our great group of stable franchisees. They put their unwavering trust in us, and it’s paying great dividends now.”

As Reeves mentioned, Boston’s – a restaurant concept heavily reliant on the in-person dining and community-focused experience – was able to overcome the restrictions of last year thanks in large part to the strength of its COVID response plan and the resiliency its owners demonstrated in the face of uncertainty.

The franchise quickly pivoted at the onset of the pandemic, shifting their focus and refining their operations to include curbside pickup, delivery and online ordering. These new avenues for revenue helped supplement initial losses from a lack of indoor dining and is now creating even greater profit opportunities for new and existing owners alike. It also allowed Boston’s restaurants to better serve today and tomorrow’s guests – more and more of whom are prioritizing convenient ordering methods.

Additionally, Boston’s supported its owners during the worst months of the pandemic with measures like deferring royalty payments and easing other financial burdens.

As a result of these efforts and positive outcomes they produced, the franchise’s development pipeline continues to grow. Boston’s is set to open five additional restaurants this year and has a deal in progress that will create four more future locations in the Southwest. In addition to new candidates investing in the brand, Boston’s is seeing extensive organic growth as well with signed development agreements that could bring up to 18 new locations across the country.

“Altogether, these efforts are a reflection of our core company values in taking care of our franchisees and creating a profitable investment for them that supports the communities in which they operate,” says Reeves. “It’s our dedication and nimble support structure that has proven to be very attractive to more and more prospects.”

In reference to Reeves’ sentiments above, more and more franchisee candidates are looking to Boston’s as a sound investment opportunity – and it’s not limited to its typical franchisee persona, either.

In fact, in 2021 80% of Boston’s openings will be non-traditional locations; end-cap, inside or adjacent to hotels, like the new locations in Marriott and Holiday Inn properties. Interest in second-generation and conversion opportunities is on the rise as well.

The franchise has also seen a significant uptick in organic candidate leads since the start of 2021. Additionally, the pending agreement that will bring four future stores to the Southwest will bring the brand into markets Boston’s development team has been eying for years.

“We’re seeing new candidate interest in cities where there’s an opportunity to establish the Boston’s brand for the first time,” Reeves says. “Almost all of the new-candidate conversations are targeting a mix of new development along with second-generation opportunities. This will allow us to capture greater market penetration and awareness as developing partners will grow more quickly than pre-COVID.”

Boston’s is looking to continue its expansion with non-traditional opportunities and inside previously-untapped markets that are ripe with potential.

Looking ahead, Boston’s is focusing on a few key initiatives that will help set their franchisees, current and future, up for success.

This includes measures like a new restaurant prototype, which is already being experimented within Canada. This new restaurant features a more efficient design, 30% smaller than pre-COVID prototypes. Boston’s is also looking at handheld tablets for service – to help improve efficiency between ordering and kitchen, eliminate mistakes, reduce labor costs, and most importantly impact the guest experience. Additionally, Boston’s is exploring virtual concepts/ghost kitchens along with a lower cost third-party delivery partnership.

Ultimately, all of these innovations will have to fuel Boston’s long-time goal of creating community-focused, family-friendly experience. It’s what has set the franchise apart for decades, and it’s what will drive growth moving forward.

“As restaurants re-open and restrictions are lifted, our guests are eager to return to their local Boston’s,” says Katie Borger, VP of Marketing for Boston’s. “We’re hearing about waves of people who can’t wait to get together with friends and family in a fun, inviting atmosphere, and that’s what we provide. We look forward to bringing that long-awaited experience back to loyal and new guests alike.”

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News, Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar