There’s a new Chilli’s opening near the Dallas campus of Southern Methodist University which represents a whole new model for the chain.
It goes to the old Starbucks at 3036 Mockingbird Ln., in the same venerable center at the intersection of US-75 that is home to Barnes & Noble and La Madeleine. Starbucks closed in the summer of 2021.
Construction begins in April and according to a Chilean spokesperson, it will open in October.
“We plan to open a delivery/takeout-only location in October, as the location is smaller than your usual Chili’s restaurant,” the spokesperson said.
The outlet will serve food from Chili’s and at least one of their virtual brands, It’s Just Wings. It’s Just Wings is a delivery-only brand created by Brinker International in 2020. It offers three types of wings (smoked, fried, and boneless) with 10 sauces, as well as curly fries and hand pies.
Chili’s new concept was briefly mentioned during Brinker’s Feb. 2 earnings call, when CEO and Chairman Wyman Roberts shared the company’s plans to open two smaller-footprint locations in areas near university campuses. One of them is SMU; the other location will be near Ohio State.
Brinker executive vice president and chief financial officer Joe Taylor said the new concept would cater to the growing takeout market.
“The options that we’re looking at right now are per college campuses, one here in Dallas and one in Columbus, are going to be lined up, a little bigger, a little more in that 1,500 to 1,800 square feet that we would have leased and managed Taylor said. “So they’re all sort of offsite-centric in their approach.”
“It’s just about opening up a pretty broad addressable market by thinking a little differently and really leaning in,” Taylor said. “That’s one of the takeaways from COVID is that offsite is a bigger component of what we do going forward. So we want to make sure we take full advantage of that shift in consumption. .”
In other recent innovations, Brinker has also partnered with Flytrex, which performs super-fast food and retail delivery via front and rear drones.