In 2002, Chili's Memphis General Manager and today Operations Director Dharam Rampersad was looking for a way to connect with his local community. Aware of the life-saving research happening at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®, he and fellow managers came up with an idea. With the help of some crayons and chili pepper coloring sheets, they organized seven neighboring Chili's restaurants to raise $14,000 in support of St. Jude. Fifteen years later, that $14,000 has been multiplied 5,000 times. As of 2017, Chili's has raised more than $70 million for St. Jude, and we were the first corporate partner to have a building on the hospital campus named in our honor. The seven-story, 340,000–square-foot facility houses 21st century imaging and treatment technology in support of St. Jude and their mission: Finding cures. Saving children®. Supported by the enduring generosity of our Chili's Guests and Team Members, we are now on our way to raising another $30 million for a school on St. Jude's campus, so children can continue their education while undergoing these life-saving treatments. We're proud to share that it all began almost 20 years ago, with the head and heart of some enterprising ChiliHead managers.
Women Taking The Lead: Developing the Next Generation of Chili's Leaders
Walk into any restaurant and there's a good chance the smiling face at your table, the cook working hard behind the counter and the manager "herding cats" is the face of a woman. But look at the ranks of restaurant leadership and more male faces emerge, just like in Silicon Valley, Wall Street and the United States Congress. This disparity deprives Chili's and other restaurants of diverse viewpoints, innovative thinking and a richer, more effective work environment for men and women alike. Under the leadership of Chili's President Kelli Valade, we've launched a unique program, called Women Take The Lead, which provides customized training, mentorships and assess to outside resources such as the Women's Food Service Forum. The program teaches promising female leaders technical skills, ways to increase confidence, how to accelerate their careers and acquire practical best practices for living a "Best Life" as mom and community leader, while still conquering the challenging demands of restaurant leadership.
Diversity & Inclusion: A Celebration of Uniqueness
With more than 1,600 restaurants in 31 countries and two territories across five continents, our Team Members and Guests are as unique and diverse as the communities we serve. We know each one of our different backgrounds makes us a better and stronger team. Our culture of inclusion and diversity celebrates the things that make us different like race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation and gender. But for us, we really take it down to the individual level. Whether it’s Veteran hiring or career training or celebrating women in leadership, we believe in a culture where individual strengths and stories are celebrated and unique perspectives help drive innovation, understanding and a great Guest experience.
Commitment to Veterans: A Legacy That Endures
Our founder and namesake, Norman Brinker, learned some of his leadership skills in the early 1950's, when he proudly served in the U.S. Navy. Today, Chili's continues to honor Norman's memory and the hundreds of other veterans who lead and work in our restaurants. We partner with Snowball Express, supporting the largest annual gathering of the children and families of America's fallen heroes. We work with local chapters of Feed Our Vets and supported Feed A Million Veterans because of our shared belief that no Veteran or Veteran’s family member should go hungry. Through our support of Wreaths Across America, we honor generations past and the historic sacrifice of our Veterans. Finally, we are part of the Veterans Job Mission, a corporate initiative with the purpose of providing job opportunities to Veterans returning from conflicts in the Middle East and other areas. Like Norman Brinker, Veterans leave an indelible mark on America, and our efforts are a small way to say “thanks” not just for how they serve, but to honor and teach the inspiration of how our Veterans live–in service to something larger than themselves: our country.