Chili’s offers larger portions of three of its leading sellers without raising prices as it slims down its menu in the hopes of returning to growth. And, at the same time, it’s bidding adieu to some of its departing menu items in a new social effort. Changes laid out Monday come after Chili’s stated it would cut 50 items, or 40 percent of its menu, in its push to get back diners.
Chili’s provides extensive work to do. Its sales are down, the amount of patrons visiting has declined in four of the last five-years, as well as the casual dining industry in which it competes continues to be dealing for years with folks opting for faster, cheaper chains or cooking more at home. Marketing promoting the main changes is set to debut early the following month.
Burgers that was once 7 ounces are actually 8 ounces. Fajitas have 48 percent more meat. And those Baby Back Ribs using the earworm jingle are now “Texas-sized” with 30 percent more meat, the Dallas-based chain says. Prices aren’t changing to reflect the greater portions.
“We don’t think given where we are within this category and the headwinds facing this category that you’re going in order to win using the old game of adding something towards the food and then making the guest pay more,” Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer for Steve Provost told reporters Monday. “So we are performing this without taking any price and it also represents a substantial investment within the core of our menu.”
The menu culling comes after Chili’s breakfast prices kept contributing to its menu to cater to a wider variety of diners and occasions, simply to realize that it lost its concentrate on what worked. “Since we were chasing new platforms we were losing our credibility on what built us,” Provost said.
One area of the menu acquiring a major overhaul is “Fresh Mex,” where Chili’s got rid of two types of bowls, one with prime rib and something with margarita chicken; prime rib tacos and spicy shrimp tacos; and cheese enchiladas and beef enchiladas. There are now just four Fresh Mex items: chicken enchiladas, ranchero chicken tacos, a chipotle chicken fresh mex bowl and bacon ranch quesadillas.
“This menu from my view is actually a jolt,” said Robert Derrington, managing director and senior restaurant analyst at Telsey Advisory Group. Chili’s “less is much more” strategy, which Derrington notes was tested for a while prior to the national rollout, should help raise its credibility and entice diners to come back, he stated.
Starting Monday afternoon, Chili’s has some fun saying goodbye to items such as crispy asparagus, smoked chicken quesadillas and triple berry crumble cake. Videos for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter include humorous takes on heartfelt moments. An “In Menumoriam” one mimics the “In Memorium” moments during awards shows such as the Academy Awards. Instead of deceased actors, directors and producers it contains images of items including Buffalo Cauliflower, labeled a broccoli impersonator.
Another video comes with a man struggling to go out of a sirloin over a bed of asparagus behind in the woods, bemoaning, “Don’t you obtain it? I don’t want you anymore.” Chili’s is additionally sharing recipes on Pinterest and vsrytd for longer than 20 items being cut to ensure that so people will make the dishes at home.
Following the goodbye moment, Chili’s wants to advertise its updated menu starting Oct. 2. “There exists a uniquely Chili’s commercial that we will use to share with the planet why we have been back and we are going back to our roots,” President Kelli Valade said Monday. While Valade did not expressly confirm if or how the Baby Back Ribs jingle will be used, she said “hearing that jingle really connotes happier times,” and then mentioned that the new campaign “will sound familiar but it could have a brand new twist.”
Chili’s social agency of record Fact & Fiction come up with online videos as well as in Menumoriam content, the chain said. The creative work debuting the following month is anticipated in the future from O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul, which Chili’s hired this summer to get a big project.