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Chilly Sales at Chili’s

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chili’s “… is mired in a sales rut and could post its 12th straight negative same-store-sales period this month.” Ouch. One financial analyst went so far as to describe Chili’s situation as “treacherous.” Double ouch.

Can’t say we should be surprised given the surprising HMOs (hot marketing opinions) y’all shared about Chili’s in my “Would You Care” series.

Comments ranged from Chili’s being forgettable because they are just another generic casual restaurant to folks saying that they visit Chili’s not for their food, but for their convenience. In other words, Chili’s is boring. And boring is the last thing you want your business to be.

Here’s a not-so-boring takeaway quote from pg. 50 of Seth Godin’s book on being remarkable, PURPLE COW

“The lesson is simple—boring always leads to failure. Boring is always the most risky strategy. Smart businesspeople realize this, and they work to minimize (but not eliminate) the risk from the process.”

UPDATE: Did you know Chili’s has a MySpace page? They do. And with it, they give away tickets to their 535,000 friends to super-secret concerts. Heck, even their Secret Shows marketing program has its own MySpace page. Does this make Chili’s un-boring?


  • Jame says:

    Well here is my take on the chains. When I was younger, my family and I would go to Chili’s for the awesome buffalo wings and play “cards” with the drink coasters (Me ages 7-12 or so). Later it was still an enjoyable family restaurant choice [high school and up]. Three key things happened.1. I went to college in Berkeley where chain restaurants are hard to find…especially then2. I tried cool ethnic foods like Ethiopian, Korean and Thai3. I found out these cool ethnic foods were yummy and cheap!Now it is a no brainer: spend $20-25 a person for generic food at Chili’s or spend $15 for cheap ethnic food or $30 for cool trendy tapas, upscale Mexican, California Cuisine or something else interesting. You do the math!

  • CD says:

    Chili’s having a MySpace page says more negative things about MySpace than it says positive things about Chilis. It’s like 40-something year old men walking around wearing last year’s hottest 20-something trends. In both cases, it’s how you know the trend is on the decline.