Chili'skick in the wallet


Funny, how when a vendor offers a break with one hand, they usually offer a slap with the other. Such is the obvious case with the restaurant chain Chili's. During a short layover at Houston International Airport, I had just enough time to dash in and order a quick meal and drink at Chili's (specifically in the B concourse). I noticed that the local time was 5:45 PM as I opened my menu.

Clearly, Chili's was very intent on promoting their variety of margarita concotions, yet while the food items deeper in the menu were clearly indicated, no prices appeared anywhere for any of these touted drinks.

As most patrons might, I surmised that Chili's may actually have "happy hour" pricing, which would explain the absence of published drink prices. So, I ordered a 'regular house margarita on the rocks' along with a $9.59 salad with chicken.

After finishing the salad and margarita (a plastic beer mug filled mostly with ice and a mediocre pre-mixed margarita recipe), I received the bill. The drink was listed on my tab as "Margarita, Rocks - TS". "TS" means that the tequila was requested as "top shelf" or a patron-requested more expensive brand than the regular "well" tequila.

My drink was $9.00!

I indicated to the waitress that there had been a mistake, as I reminded her that I had requested a 'regular' margarita. She explained to me that all of their margaritas are "Top Shelf" only.

Wait a second. What?

Okay, obvioulsly Chili's at a busy hub airport figures that travelers in a hurry don't have time to argue over such an issue, as I didn't. But what this little switch did is really tick me off, and now causes my ire to be raised about the Chili's reputation.

So beware, fellow travelers. Chili's will entice you with their splashy drink menu, without letting you know that their drinks real kick comes with the bill. A kick right in the wallet.


  • Dr
    Dr Khaled Aug 03, 2009

    I was dining in your restaurant Chili's Heliopolis on Monday Aug, 3 with my wife. It was about 1:00 PM when a very rude guest (female) near my table was complaining about the prices and she started to shout and to say very rude words which my wife heard clearly. She even caught the server from her t-shirt and started to insult her with words that I cannot say. I was very surprised about the server's behavior who was insulted very rudely from the guest and she was very polite and diplomatic. That server was facing a problem that she didn't make and she didn't keep apologizing to that rude guest who insulted her and her family. I was more surprised about the behaviors of the managers who were present and they didn't even try to defense that server or to apologize to that rude guest. I am a regular client in Chili's in Egypt and USA, but I never had such situation before. I really recommend you to choose a better quality of managers who can solve such problems if you want to keep your good image and reputation as one of the best casual dining restaurant as you say.

    0 Votes
  • Ex
    exkohls Sep 13, 2009

    I don't know where you were traveling from, but I live in Texas and have never seen a price listed on an alcoholic beverage on a menu in my entire life.

    If you are concerned about drink prices, I suggest you ask before ordering. You could have avoided this "kick in the wallet" by simply asking before ordering.

    2 Votes
  • Cw
    CW2 Oct 31, 2009

    There are several Chili's in our area. The closest one to our house is awful. Tonight it was crowded but there were two empty tables in the bar first come first serve. The tables needed to be cleaned off we waited several minutes before someone would even attempt to clean it off. The manager even walked by twice before she would even ask if we wanted to sit there. We got seated and wait another 5 minutes before seeing a waiter. We order drinks and Queso dip but we did not want salt on our chips. He said no problem. 8 minutes later we got our drinks and chips but no dip. finally the dip arrives but when we tried the dip with the chips the chips had salt on them and the tea turned out to be sweet it was suppose to be unsweet. When the waiter finally came back took our chips to get ones without salt and he only brought one glass of the right tea we had to ask for another. It took a while to get our chips our food came out in the mean time. One of us had a corndog and it was not done. It took a long time to get the corndog. The manager stopped by in the mean time and we told her our problems she gave us our meal for free but our glasses of tea and water were empty but she walked off before we could ask for more drinks and she didn't offer to get us anything else. The waiter kept disappearing even when it slowed down. He started the experience by saying there are only two waiters in this section so it might be slow.<br />
    <br />
    On another occasion to the same chili's the hostest forgot to write down the pager number and we had sat at the bar. she wrote our name and she called it but we did not hear it at the bar. that was bad but it was really bad considering she knows me personally she did not even look around to see if she saw me. They need a PA system if they are going to have airheads work there.

    0 Votes
  • Ju
    -JustBrowsin- Nov 01, 2009

    Didn't even realize you could get corn dogs at Chili's. Is that on the kid's menu?

    0 Votes
  • 58
    583586 Oct 26, 2010

    You're and idiot...any resturant in an airport is owned and operated by the airport, not the actual company itself. thats how they can charge more. i didnt even bother reading your complaint but i hope you had a miserable day, i hope you were involuntarily bumped from your flight and the flight you made was delayed for hours and then upon your arrival you sit on the taxiway for a good two hours due to weather...on top of all that...i hope your bag didnt make it to you

    0 Votes
  • At
    Atticus Jackson Aug 15, 2011

    Top shelf didn't refer to the liquor, it's the name of the margarita. You were charged airport prices, congratulations on learning what convenience is.

    1 Votes
  • At
    Atticus Jackson Aug 15, 2011

    Heck yeah, chili's corn dogs are delicious!

    0 Votes

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