"You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.

Christopher Nolan"


Chili's across Oklahoma could be in a tight spot this year. Has the fast-casual giant has grown too big to fail, but also too commonplace to attract enough business?

The perception being from the outside looking in, there may be so many Chili's across the country that there's nothing special about dining there anymore.

Parent company Brinker International isn't exactly on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, putting their big three brands at major risk of collapse, but it is hard to ignore the odds given by investing analytics firms.

Update: Brinker responded directly. See their response below.

On the face of it, revenues are up... but so are costs. Like everything in this economy, nothing is untouched by inflation. I know life was better when our beloved Triple-Dipper wasn't $16.


While Chili's is the biggest of the brands, it also includes Italian eatery Maggiano's, and their super-secret It's Just Wings brand that operates out of just about every Chili's location--offering just buffalo wings to go.

The closings have already started.

While a Chapter 11 has yet to be filed, Chili's is closing restaurants across the country. 38 of their 1500 locations so far, more are expected to follow suit in an attempt to stave off a rumored fate that has made so many brands disappear over the years.

Some articles local to the closing restaurants have pointed out the similarities that brands like TGIFriday's and Bennigans followed years ago.

Can Chili's survive the storm?

While it's understandable most people missed a lot of the discussions on social media about Chili's, with the tornado outbreak over the weekend and such, most share a similar opinion.

Chili's isn't now what it was when it was so good...

...at least that's the public perception.

I would assume that most people attribute Chili's to be a place of comfort food, especially Millennials who likely experienced Chili's as a first taste of what they thought was adulthood. I can remember our local brand-new Chili's being our regular date spot because it seemed so grown-up-yet-affordable vs the other options in my small hometown.

But people on social media also complain about how much the brand has changed over the years. How many classic and beloved menu items have disappeared over the years in lieu of trendy options that are intended to look healthier, even though they're not at all?

The Dallas-founded brand may have numbered days, but they've been through this all before. First in 2008 when the big rebrand came - becoming less Tex-Mex and more focused on trendy hipster faire - and again when the pandemic hit in 2020.

While some locations may disappear forever when the leases of underperforming locations end, odds are Chili's won't go the way of TGIFriday's anytime soon.


Brinker International (operator of Chili's) reached out to us directly to say Oklahoma Chili's locations aren't closing and the Tex-Mex brand is actually expanding in the Sooner State.

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