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Monday, October 12, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Boston Market Franchisee Closes All 56 Restaurants In Northwest

Bloomberg News: The AP

GOLDEN, Colo. - Boston Chicken's Northwest franchisee closed 56 Boston Market restaurants in Washington, Oregon and Idaho after Boston Chicken said it could no longer provide funding.

Portland-based BC Northwest said it closed the restaurants and laid off about 900 employees Saturday night. The company had started as a Boston Chicken franchisee in 1994.

The company closed 36 restaurants in Washington, including five in Seattle and others in Spokane, Renton, Tacoma, Vancouver, Newcastle, Lynnwood, Everett, Issaquah, Federal Way, Olympia, Silverdale, Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, Kent, Redmond, Des Moines, Woodinville, Marysville, Port Orchard, Mill Creek, Bothell, Puyallup, Kirkland, Kennewick and Yakima.

BC Northwest also closed 17 restaurants in Oregon - in Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Salem, Bend, Corvallis, Oregon City, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro and Clackamas - and three in Idaho.

The closures end Boston Market's presence in these three states.

Boston Chicken, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, said the closings by BC Northwest won't affect the chain's other 900 restaurants.

Sales and profits at Boston Chicken, one of the U.S.'s largest take-out diner chains, have fallen in the last two years as customers have turned to supermarkets and other stores selling cheaper ready-to-eat roasted chickens and other pre-made meals. The company said in its bankruptcy filing it wouldn't be able to fund BC

Northwest and other franchisees, although it would try to help them find other funding.

"We earnestly sought this financing from other sources, but it is apparent that in this tight capital market, none is available," BC Northwest said in a statement.

Boston Chicken last week said it closed 178 of its 1,143 restaurants and stores and fired about 500 of its 18,500 workers.

BC Northwest said it would provide job assistance to its laid-off employees.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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