Chili's / Kick 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.