Financing

Brinker closes on 116-unit Chili’s deal

The company said it plans to invest in the stores at an accelerated rate.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Chili’s Grill & Bar parent Brinker International has completed the purchase of 116 Chili’s restaurants from what had been the casual chain’s largest domestic franchisee, ERJ Dining. The price and other terms were not disclosed.

The restaurants generate annual revenues of about $300 million, Brinker said when it announced the deal in July. More recently, the company told investors that it anticipates raising that tally and the profits that follow. “We are in the midst of developing plans to invest in these restaurant at an accelerated pace, with proven programs that have driven solid performance in our company-owned restaurants,” Brinker CEO and Chili’s President Wyman Roberts told financial analysts during the company’s most recent quarterly conference call. 

At a gathering of investors a few days later, Brinker said it is committed to operating as well as franchising restaurants. Company-owned stores can be updated more readily, a key consideration because 85% of Chili’s sales come from customers dining on-premise, Roberts said. He also cited the “must” of investing quickly in technology and the ability to deliver more consistent operations. 

The ERJ purchase raises the proportion of the Chili’s chain that’s run by Brinker to 86% domestically. 

The deal ends a 14-year relationship with ERJ, the restaurant company of former NBA star Junior Bridgeman and his family. The Bridgemans announced in 2016 that they intended to sell off their hospitality holdings to concentrate on their Coca-Cola bottling operations.

Chili’s owns or holds the franchise rights to 1,612 restaurants in 30 countries. It is a sister concept to Maggiano’s Little Italy, a chain of 53 family-style Italian restaurants, all in the United States.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Food

Why the Smashed Jack sparked record-smashing demand at Jack in the Box

Behind the Menu: The chain’s newest menu addition aims to break the mold on what a fast-food burger can be, and customers are buying in.

Financing

Why Wingstop isn't afraid of Popeyes' chicken wings

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual wing chain says its sales improve when another brand pushes the product. Here’s why that might be.

Food

Mendocino Farms masters a meaty Philly cheesesteak sandwich—without the meat

Behind the Menu: The fast casual uses a mushroom-based meat alternative for its Philly Shroomsteak Sandwich, a new menu item targeted to flexitarians, not just vegans.

Trending

More from our partners