Chili’s Grill & Bar may have been founded in 1975 by a group of “hamburger hippies,” but a new marketing campaign and a few culinary tweaks are reinventing those tastes for today’s customers. Not only does the new Sunrise Burger tout its clean ingredients and handcrafted technique—two modern priorities—but the 1,500-unit chain is using modern tools to tell its story. “We entered into Snapchat for the first time, creating geotargeted filters with Chili’s ’70s look,” says CMO Krista Gibson. Chili’s also recruited its corporate chef to do Facebook Live events in which he demos the burger build, explaining the upgrades. Both of these moves are resonating with guests, she says. The social media campaign and ingredient improvements aim to separate Chili’s from the casual-dining pack. According to Ad Age, Chili’s plans to boost its marketing spend by 16% this year, after cutting spending by 7% in fiscal 2016.
With the debut of the Sunrise Burger in July, Chili’s also brought antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef and cage-free eggs into its supply chain for the first time. Other upgrades include artisan rolls and pickles made in-house from fresh garlic-marinated cucumbers. Plus, each burger is pattied by hand to order. Training from the culinary operations team lessened the impact of the changes on labor, says Gibson. The Sunrise Burger goes for $10 to $11, depending on the market.
|Instead of....||Try this...|
|Grain-fed beef||Grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef|
|American cheese||Pepper jack cheese|
|White bun||Potato bun|
|Premade pickles||Housemade garlic-dill pickles|