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Chili's Courtesy of Chili's

Chili’s cuts corporate and field staff in a restructuring

First large-scale layoff for operator since 2009

Chili’s Grill & Bar has laid off nearly 50 employees from its corporate staff and more than 30 people from its field director team in a restructuring, the company told employees Friday.

In a message to employees, the Dallas-based division of Brinker International Inc. said the layoffs included nine regional directors, 29 area directors and nearly 50 corporate employees.

The layoffs aim at streamlining the “above-restaurant organization” to bring the Chili’s team “closer to the restaurants,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email Monday.

“This new structure ensures that we are well-organized to leverage our resources more effectively and prioritize our efforts to help reduce complexity, ensure clarity in roles, enhance collaboration and improve efficiency in decision-making,” the spokesperson said.

Brinker, which also owns the Maggiano’s Little Italy brand, is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings before the stock market opens on Wednesday. 

For the first quarter ended Sept. 28, Brinker said it experienced “choppy” sales at both brands. 

Chili's company-owned same-store sales declined 1.4 percent, and Maggiano's same-store sales slipped 0.6 percent. Traffic at Chili’s company-owned locations fell 4.1 percent in the quarter.

Brinker’s first-quarter net income fell 30 percent, to $23.2 million, or 42 cents per share, from $33.2 million, or 54 cents per share. Revenue declined 0.5 percent, to $758.5 million, from $762.6 million the previous year.

Brinker’s last large-scale layoffs were in 2008 and 2009. Chili’s cut 125 positions at its corporate headquarters in 2008, and trimmed 155 jobs after the sale of Romano’s Macaroni Grill in 2009.

As of Sept. 28, Brinker owned, operated and franchised 1,652 restaurants, including 1,601 Chili’s units and 51 Maggiano’s locations.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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