Chili’s Radio: Your Prayers Have Been Answered

anthonyjmiccio | May 19, 2008 11:30 am
Do you go to Chili’s for the music? Do you sometimes hear a great song while enjoying a Fajita Trio, and wish you knew who that artist was? Well, the chain restaurant has created an online radio network that allows listeners to have some semblance of the restaurant experience in their own home, which mostly involves discovering what passes for bar rock in 2008. (The answer: white reggae.) Full disclosure: my disrespectful tone toward Chili’s may have something to do with the awful 21st birthday I spent there, for reasons too embarrassing to detail.

Accessible via the “Fun” section of the Chili’s Grill & Bar website, the new Chili’s Radio Network features new artists, great hits and contemporary music designed to “Pepper In Some Fun” throughout a listeners’ day, wherever they are. While in-restaurant music is programmed for specific times of day and customized for restaurants by location, the far-reaching nature of web radio gives Chili’s the ability to help listeners discover new music by supplementing its playlists with unique, lesser known tracks and artists.

“We have received positive reviews from our guests and team members on our music. We challenged PlayNetwork to present some creative new ways to engage our guests and extend the energy of the brand to our online environment,” said Krista Gibson, senior vice president of brand strategy for Chili’s Grill & Bar. “What we got is a web radio network that mirrors the energy of our restaurants.”

“Chili’s has always been progressive in its use of music, and the expansive playlist fits perfectly with the bold atmosphere and menu,” said Craig Hubbell, executive vice president of Media Services, Sales and Marketing for PlayNetwork. “Web radio is an ideal platform for taking that restaurant experience and putting it in front of customers at home, at work, or wherever they access the Internet. PlayNetwork is proud to partner with Chili’s in helping build an even deeper connection with their loyal patrons.”

While the player never told me the name of the song or artist I was listening to (the screen was stuck on “please wait as the first song loads…” well after the first song loaded), I did have to Google the lyrics to figure out what I wasn’t listening to (save English Beat). Here are the six tracks I heard on Chili’s Radio during my initial, and potentially final, listen:

Mighty Mighty Bosstones, “Chasing The Sun Away” Kaiser Chiefs, “Ruby” Paolo Nutini, “New Shoes” English Beat, “Tears Of A Clown” Jack Johnson, “Staple It Together” Ryan Adams, “Burning Photographs”

I say “potentially” final because there is a possibility that a friend will someday show up wearing a Hawaiian shirt and bearing a keg, thumb through my CD collection, and complain I have nothing you can really “chillax” too. If they fix it so I can actually see what we’re listening to, I’ll happily throw on Chili’s Radio, mute the TV and watch the game the way God meant us to. God being Jack Johnson.

Rhett Miller “Chili’s commercial” [YouTube] From Dining Table to Web, Chili’s Uses Music to Deliver a Spiced-up Experience [Fox Business]