TexMex brand Chili’s American Grill & Bar to open in Chennai

N Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on January 20, 2018

Ashish Saxena, Chief Executive Officer, TexMex Cuisines India

The 40-year-old American brand hasabout 1,600 outlets in 32 countries

American casual dining brand Chili’s American Grill & Bar, which serves Tex-Mex food, will open in Chennai next week, its 10th outlet in the South and the West.

It has three outlets each in Mumbai and Bengaluru, two in Hyderabad and one in Pune.

TexMex Cuisine India Pvt Ltd, backed by private equity firm TVS Capital Ltd, is the franchisee for Chili’s American Grill & Bar in the southern and western regions. The Chennai outlet, spread over 2,700 sqft, will open on May 2 at the popular Express Avenue shopping mall with 120 covers.

According to Ashish Saxena, Chief Executive Officer, TexMex Cuisine India Pvt Ltd, it costs ₹3.5-4.5 crore to open an outlet. The outlets are generally 2,000-2,500 sqft and the largest is spread over 4,000 sqft. The plan is to open four more outlets this year, in the South and the West. TexMex Cuisine India opened the first outlet in Mumbai in 2009.

Chili’s American Grill & Bar is a 40-year-old American brand now owned by Brinker International. It has about 1,600 outlets in 32 countries, including about 1,100 in the US.

Saxena says the Chili’s American Grill & Bar brand is easy to relate to, good for casual dining, a place where you can go with your family and friends and plays good English music. In short, “a cool place where you can hang out with friends and family.”

Universal menu

Nearly 80-90 per cent of the brand’s menu is the same across the world, with some minor modifications to suit local tastes.

“Our philosophy is to keep it as close to the US food as possible,” says Saxena, who has a minor equity stake in TexMex Cuisine India.

The Indian operations used to import most of the ingredients when it started off.

Now, it has developed a supplier base in India for most of the ingredients. Brinker International has to approve every ingredient before it can be used in the food.

It still imports a handful of products such as pork ribs from Spain, two fish varieties — salmon and basa — from the Pacific and Vietnam, and tostada chips from China.

Market survey

According to Saxena, the company had done market survey in Chennai for Tex-Mex food and found a positive response, before it decided to open an outlet.

Almost all its outlets are profitable at the unit level as well as the corporate level.

There are eight Chili’s American Grill & Bar restaurants in the northern and eastern regions, which are run by another franchisee.

Published on April 26, 2016

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