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Cleveland Circle burrito place closes; no, not the Chipotle

The Boloco outlet at 1940 Beacon St. sent mail to customers today that today's its last day ever, more than 18 years after it opened and despite the continued patronage of singer James Taylor and the sale of an estimated 2 million burritos:

Why are we closing, you may ask? The simple truth is that for the last 3-4 years we have lost money at Cleveland Circle - quite a bit of it, in fact. With Boloco's high quality ingredients and highest paid employees in the industry, we needed more customers every day to run a sustainable business and whatever we were (or more likely not) doing at that location just didn't attract enough of you. It really always comes down to simple math.

Many assumed that due to the recent Norovirus outbreak at our national competitor next door we would thrive going forward, but we didn't see significant improvement. In fact, as a (really sick, pun intended) April Fool's joke one of the Boston College rags accused Boloco Cleveland Circle of spreading Norovirus and claimed that Chipotle was rejoicing. While we were appreciative they took it down (and that they issued an apology after attorneys got involved), and for the record this is not why we decided to close, we knew in our hearts that the tea leaves were telling us to finally call it a day.

Boloco's complete e-mail to customers.

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Comments

I like their burritos. I work in Copley Sq., and I'd rather get Boloco than Chipotle for lunch if I'm in the mood for a burrito. The Copley Sq. store is usually pretty jammed at lunch; hope that means they're more profitable than the Cleveland Circle store was.

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Far busier... about 4x the number of daily customers. Thank you for your support :)

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...I loved the breakfast burritos. But couldn't help but notice that the place was empty every time I went in to get one. Breakfast was losing money, so that was cut too. Makes sense but I really miss the breakfast burritos; they were damn good.!

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location was closed in part because of its proximity to Copley. I'm sure a lot of people that went there go to Copley now, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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If you are going to pay your employees well (which they do indeed for the industry) the downside is that your business might not be as profitable as you would like it to be. So to basically say "tough wruck" and pull up stakes because your business is not "sustainable" (and by whose standards?), putting all those employees that you supposedly care so much in an unemployment line, is curious to me.

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They are being transferred to other locations... as written in our email. We aren't going to lower wages to keep a business in business, if you can't afford something along the lines of a livable wage it doesn't count as a real business. Does that make sense? We lost over $60,000 this past year, to answer your other question. We would have accepted $1. Wages were not at fault. Cheers, John

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Boloco isn't a charity run for the benefit of its employees. It's a for-profit business. If it's not making money, its options are (a) try to make money, or (b) close. (a) didn't work. Caring for employees has nothing to do with it. In fact, it seems like they stuck it out for a long time, trying to make it work, so good on them.

Competition is hard and the business world can be brutal. That's the way capitalism works.

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Did you even read the post? The employees are moving elsewhere in the Boloco ecosystem.

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Really? I think you mean the company.

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Why in the world would any business (as opposed to government work program) continue to operate after it has become clear that it will lose money with each passing day?

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My guess is that their lease is up at the end of this Month. Must have been worth it to continue to operate instead of paying to terminate the lease early.

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...according to the newsletter they had a year left on their lease. But were losing so much money they decided to close now.

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If they have long term lease or other obligation it might cost then less to stay open with a small loss verses closing and owing rent on an empty store. They might have other obligations such as loans to cover.

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I think the folks running Venezuela would like your way of thinking.

They have tried to make this location work and it didn't. That's it. Should they keep this location open at the possible detriment to the entire company, which of course employs many more people elsewhere, just to keep these jobs? It's too bad for the employees and I"d be they'll be offered jobs at other locations as available.

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somebody put this man in charge of the MBTA, stat

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In the full text of the email they sent, they clearly state that the employees of the CC Boloco are being re-assigned to other Boloco locations. No one's joining the unemployment line.

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Boloco is horrible. Hopefully whatever moves into that space will diversify the food options in Cleveland Circle a little bit.

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like a gyro place !

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.

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Shit-pote-le leaving would have been good riddance. Boloco is a local company (Get it? BOston LOcal COmpany) and should be supported.

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I'm supposed to support a company that serves unenjoyable food just because they're local?

If I want a burrito, I go to El Pelon. If I want a crappier burrito with less walking, I go to Chipotle.

And yes I understand the meaning of their terrible name. They should have never changed it from "The Wrap."

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Boloco rules, Chipotle drools. And I bet if you had told an employee about your bad experience(s) they would've made it right.

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But when I do, I prefer ANNA'S TAQUERIA.

LOCAL BOSTON COMPANY

TWENTY-ONE YEARS IN BUSINESS

SEVEN LOCATIONS (including Coolidge Corner btw)

EL PRIMER BURRITO del NUESTRO CIUDAD

ANNA'S > El Pelon > Villa Mexico Cafe > Viva Burrito > El Triunfo (South End) > Boca Grande > Boloco > Whatever Else

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LOCAL BOSTON COMPANY

"BOLOCO" literally stands for "Boston Local Company"

Not to say Anna's isn't great, because it is. Boloco is kind of a different take on burritos if you think about it–I prefer buffalo steak myself (as a native Upstate New Yorker, I can confirm that they have some of the best buffalo sauce in Boston).

Also if you want real deal, pretty much anything in East Boston (especially Taquería Jalisco) > the rest of the city's options. But get over here soon before all of the good places are gone. Because displacement.

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Boloco was also sold to investors from Ohio like 10 years ago...

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...like one year ago?

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John Pepper, who wrote about buying the chain back and who answered some of the earlier comments in this discussion.

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.

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Y tu español está mal, por cierto. No creo para nada que sea "el primer burrito de nuestra ciudad" .. eso cómo lo vas a comprobar?

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The problem is Bocolo isn't burritos, it's a wrap place. Every time I've gone in there looking for a burrito - spicy salsa, flavorful meat, etc - I'm disappointed. Looking at it for wraps has been a lot more fruitful.

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it was originally called Under Wraps over on Mass. Ave.
I wish they would bring back the cheeseburger wrap!

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a limited run cheeseburger burrito last year, and it was damn good. I was pretty disappointed when it was gone.

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I enjoyed going to the Cleveland Circle Boloco for an occasional burrito/wrap, and it is the only location somewhat convenient to me. The Bangkok Thai is delicious and the staff at that location was always speedy. Sad to see it go.

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