Here’s Why Chili’s is Cutting its Menu Down by 40%

Here’s Why Chili’s is Cutting its Menu Down by 40%

It’s no secret that casual dining chains are struggling in today’s market. In order to survive with the fast casual brands and the elevated casual dining chains, staples in the casual dining segment are being forced to adapt. 

Whether it’s with a massive rebranding or with a menu overhaul, these are all strategies to keep guests in seats.

Chili’s has already completed a rebrand, but it’s uppin’ the ante with a menu revamp. The chain announced in late September that it will be cutting down its menu by 40%.

Its current menu features 125 appetizers, entrees, desserts and more– but it will be trimmed down to 75 items

The new menu will be focusing on its most popular items like its burgers, ribs, and fajitas.

“Over the years, like many bar and grill chains, Chili’s chased consumer trends, expanded the menu and tried to be all things to all guests, therefore compromising execution and resulting in a fuzzy food reputation,” said Chili’s in a recent statement.

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The Best Chefs in the Country Share Their Best Fall Pairings

The Best Chefs in the Country Share Their Best Fall Pairings

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

Every season brings a new selection of ingredients for a chef to get creative with. For both the diner and chef, this keeps things interesting.

As usual, the fall season brings traditional favorites like apples and pumpkin. But, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, pears, figs and kale are also in season.

Fall doesn’t only only mean new ingredients to play with, but also new pairings to be made.

We decided ask some of the best chefs across the country about what menu dishes they are preparing this season, which ones have been the most popular, and what their perfect pairings are for fall.

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Pei Wei's New Summer Menu Offers Guests Gourmet “Salads with a Purpose”

Pei Wei's New Summer Menu Offers Guests Gourmet “Salads with a Purpose”

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

The Asian fast casual mogul, Pei Wei launched its brand new summer menu with a nutritional purpose last week, appealing to the health-conscious consumer. These temporary menu options will be available at the 200 Pei Wei stores nationwide. 

The seasonal offerings features three new salads– including the Thai Steak& Mango salad, with wok-seared steak and mixed greens topped with avocado, grape tomato, mango, cucumber, scallions, mint, cilantro, crispy rice noodles, Thai basil– all tossed with a Chile-lime garlic vinaigrette dressing.

Avocado makes an appearance in another new salad– the Ahi Avocado Salad featuring Ahi tuna, mixed greens, avocado, cucumbers, Asian slaw, pickled gingers, toasted sesame seeds and crispy wontons topped with a wasabi vinaigrette.  

All of the gourmet salads stay true to the Asian-inspired menu. The Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad has wok-seared chicken with mixed greens, mint, pickled carrot, scallions, Thai basil, roasted peanuts, crispy onions, chilled rice noodles– all tossed with a Chile-lime garlic vinaigrette dressing. The Asian Chopped Chicken Salad has been updated for the summer menu, featuring hand-pulled chicken, mixed greens, carrots, red bell peppers, scallions, Thai basil, crispy wontons, sesame seeds topped with a ginger-sesame vinaigrette. 

But, salads aren’t the only new offering. The chain will now be serving the Honey Sriracha Wings– crispy chicken wings that have been wok-tossed in a spicy honey sriracha sauce topped with scallions and sesame seeds.

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BurgerFi Adds the Gourmet CEO Burger to the Menu

BurgerFi Adds the Gourmet CEO Burger to the Menu

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

BurgerFi isn’t afraid to go big with their burgers. The breakfast all day, B.A.D. Burger is a massive angus beef patty topped with American cheese, hickory bacon, hash browns, grilled onions and a fried egg. This beast of a burger is one of the best sellers on the menu.

Well, the better-burger concept is at it again! This week it announced the debut of the CEO Burger this Monday. The burger features two Wagyu + brisket blend beef patties topped with Swiss cheese, candied bacon-tomato jam, and garlic truffle aioli sauce. 

"The ingredients in the CEO Burger take our savory, juicy burger to new heights," said Paul Griffin, the executive chef at BurgerFi in a press release. "We believe we have built a burger that is the big boss of the burger world featuring new and innovative flavors, destined for the corner office of American palates."

This burger isn’t just a summer menu item either, BurgerFi has stated it gets a permanent spot on the brand’s menu. 

"From its inception the CEO Burger has been a hit with better burger lovers," said BurgerFi CEO Corey Winograd in a press release. "I like to think that it's really a burger fit for the CEO in all of us."

The Competitive Landscape of the Better-Burger Segment 

Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack has received a lot of press when it went public, but BurgerFi was a step ahead in conquering the burger market back then with almost double the stores. 

Currently, Shake Shack his just about caught up with BurgerFi’s number of stores. 

The South Florida-based chain, BurgerFi projects that 100 stores will be open by the end of the year and reported $100 million sales in 2015.

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Emerging Summer Menus: How Brands are Appealing to Consumers this Season

Emerging Summer Menus: How Brands are Appealing to Consumers this Season

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

The development of a menu relies on a few factors, including the ingredients available that season, current consumer trends and the brand or restaurant’s creativity.

According to the National Restaurant Association, locally sourced meats and seafood and house-made/artisan soft drinks are at the top of the 2016 food trends list.

So, how are brands in all segments incorporating these type of items? And what are they emphasizing this summer?

Summer brings so much more than sunny rays, it also brings a slump in restaurant sales. This is frequently the hardest season for industry.

Nonetheless, restaurants are coming up with clever ways to bring their customers into their stores. This often includes introducing new menu items that channel the spirit of the season.

With fan-favorite fruits, refreshing cocktails and over-the-top food items, let’s take a look at what restaurant brands are bringing to the table this summer.

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