You may never look at Chili's the same way again after reading a lengthy new profile at GQ. The company need not worry, though, because this is a flattering piece about how the chain is a "strange and singular" place to work. The first clue would be the headline, "Inside the Church of Chili's," and the focus is on the company's "super-trainers," a small, passionate group that travels around the country to train staff before an opening. Think of them as the "Dream Team," writes Daniel Riley. "They are the best of the best," the ones chosen to school newbies on every aspect of Chili's-dom, with "spirit" being the most important. "These super-trainers are the SEALs of the Fresh Mex fast-casual game, and they are also its sages."
Riley has no illusions about the fare itself—which is, "let's be real, pretty mediocre burgers and ribs"—but he can testify to the rest because he reveals that he is a former Chili's employee himself, and he has fond memories of it. Some find the "enthusiasm too overwhelming" and opt out, but a surprising number stay on for years, even decades, as they shift into different positions and, yes, career paths. It creates an unusual vibe within the company, writes Riley: "It is my Chili's and it is your Chili's. But more than anyone's—and this is the point of this whole thing you're getting into—it is their Chili's. Chili's belongs to them." The story is also stocked with odd Chili factoids, including the rule that the best-selling Presidente Margarita gets shaken precisely 25 times on the way to a customer's table. Click for the full piece. (Read more Chili's stories.)