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/ Source: TODAY
By Julie Pennell

Fans of rotisserie chicken may have to drive a little bit further to pick up their dinner fix.

Boston Market, the fast-casual chain best known for its carryout meals, has shuttered 45 of its locations across the country — about 10% of all stores.

Boston Market has recently closed 45 of its stores across the U.S. AP

In a letter which was sent to employees last month, CEO Frances Allen explained that the industry has been facing increased competition, shifting consumer preferences and rising costs on everything from goods and labor, to real estate and utilities.

Allen confirmed to TODAY that six Boston Market locations were closed on June 30, while another 39 were shut down on Sunday. Among those shuttered were stores in Illinois, Minnesota and Massachusetts — specifically in Boston.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the chain’s U.S. sales have been declining over the past few years. Boston Market saw a 1.3% decrease in revenue from 2017 to 2018.

The chain's footprint has also dramatically decreased through the years as well. Back in its heyday in the 1990s, the company boasted over 1,100 restaurants across the country.

Today, that number is down to about 400 locations.

But Allen said that she is feeling good about where the company is currently headed. Last month, Boston Market launched a new menu that includes lower-calorie options. She added that the chain is also focusing on online and mobile ordering, delivery services and its loyalty reward program.

“Our success is not going to be defined by the number of stores,” Allen wrote in the letter. “It's going to be driven and measured by our ability to execute on our agenda, ensuring the Boston Market brand continues to be relevant with existing and new customers and delivers exceptional dining experiences.”

The employees from the 45 shuttered locations were offered job opportunities at other Boston Market restaurants or provided severance payments.

Boston Market isn't the only big chain facing closures amid increasing competition.

Last year, Subway (which is the country's largest fast-food chain by number of stores) announced it would be shutting down hundreds restaurants in the U.S. In April, Friendly's announced it was closing nearly two dozen of its locations.