Chili’s is an American fast-food restaurant chain with an informal Southwestern-style atmosphere and original cuisine for those who love spicy food. It appeared in 1975 thanks to the initiative of Larry Lavine. The first eatery was located on Greenville Avenue in Dallas in a converted post office. It is now headquartered in Coppell, Texas, and is wholly owned by Brinker International.
Meaning and History
Beginning as a small site in Dallas’ Vickery Meadows neighborhood, the restaurant gradually grew into a major culinary and food enterprise. Six years after opening, it moved to a new location in the same town. That was in 1981. The second and final move was in 2007.
The founder’s concept into his business was simple: to create an atmosphere of relaxation for visitors in a dining restaurant with comprehensive service. The menu from the beginning consisted of several types of burgers offered at an affordable price. The business was profitable, and in the early 1980s, the company already had twenty-eight Southwestern-designed eateries of the same name.
The establishment proved in demand, and in 1983 it was bought from Larry Lavine by entrepreneur Norman E. Brinker, a member of the Pillsbury group. In 1990, the fast-food chain changed its menu significantly. In addition to chili pepper dishes, other offerings appeared: scrambled eggs, toast, waffles, pancakes, cereal, scrambled eggs, and bacon. The hours of operation also changed, as fast-food outlets began opening at 6 a.m. But in 2018, breakfast was removed from the menu, and opening times reverted to the previous schedule. It now serves American and Mexican cuisine.
Chili’s is very focused on advertising, preferring it as an effective marketing tool. That’s why the restaurant focuses on the logo. It serves a triple function: it is a sign of personal identity, is used as a signage, and supports the brand identity. A total of three modifications of the logo were carried out.
1975 – 1983
The debut symbolism was not unique. It was simple lettering in puffy lower case letters. The foot of the “h” went beyond the lower case and joined the adjacent “i.” Miniature chili pepper was used instead of an apostrophe.
1983 – 2002
After transitioning to a new owner, the restaurant chain received a different logo. The lettering style was changed to a friendlier one, and the letters did not have any sharp corners. The lines were smooth and streamlined, and the “h” transitioned harmoniously into the “l.” The designers pushed the “s” close to the rest of the name but still left the pepper in between. At the bottom, there was an ellipse with the words “Grill & Bar.” They were spaced apart.
2002 – 2011
The subtitle “Grill & Bar” is gone, and the inter-letter space has increased. The dots above the “i” (or rather ovals) got bigger, and the chili pepper got a curve to the left side. The color scheme remained the same: a combination of green and red.
2011 – today
The updated logo was submitted by the agency Tesser Inc, which already had experience in similar work, as it created the logo for Del Taco. The designers replaced the inscription “Chili” with an image of pepper and disguised the apostrophe with its stalk. In the end, only the letter “s” remained from the inscription. Gone, too, is the green top. This version is much more in line with the style and cuisine of the fast-food chain.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The company only updated the logo design three times. And with each new version, the chili pepper got more and more recognizable, distinct features. As a result, it became much more noticeable. So gradually, there was a transition from the text designation to a graphic one.
The inscription on the logo is made in Barmeno style, streamlined, rounded, and sans serif. It was created by Hans Reichel, who designed the font in 1983. The signature palette consists of the natural colors of chili peppers – red and green, the shades of which have changed from year to year in the direction of brightening. The debut logo was dominated by dark brown (the name) and yellow (the background).