The Ratings Game: Chili’s menu may not be as well-suited to takeout as Olive Garden’s, analysts say

Chili’s parent company Brinker International Inc. says that the company’s takeout business is growing, but some analysts are wondering whether it will be as big as that of Darden Restaurant Inc.’s Olive Garden.

“We will be watching to see if Chili’s takeout business gains momentum as Olive Garden’s has,” said RBC Capital Markets in a note published on Thursday. “While Chili’s does sell a wide range of Mexican offerings, we wonder if the less portable traditional American items (e.g. burger and fries) will limit takeout/delivery upside. If Chili’s fails to leverage labor and its assets through takeout, our guess is that the chain will need to reinvest more heavily in food and labor to separate itself from bar-and-grill peers.

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