Customers lined up in the University Center (UC) for the Chili’s Too opening on Feb. 14. It is one of six in the nation on a college campus, with 64 employees—54 of them students. Chili’s Too will have its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Mar. 9.
The restaurant offers about 50 percent of the standard Chili’s menu, except seafood and baby-back ribs. “We want to provide food that is affordable and maintain a high quality product,” UTSA Chili’s Too Manager Mycheal Kendall said.
All items on the menu are under $10, except the Flame-Grilled Fajitas, to offer affordable food for students on a budget.
“A comment box will be available for suggestions, and if enough students request a certain menu item, the management will try to fulfill the request,” El-hadj M. Samassekou, Chili’s Too opening manager said.
Both Rowdy Dollars and Dining Dollars will be accepted at the restaurant.
After placing an order, customers can get their own drink and either sit in the dining area or in the Sports Grill section where there are seven 42″ flat screen TV’s around the room. Customers will receive a red number to take back to their table and wait for a server to bring them their food.
The Sports Grill dining area will also be available for private parties, where sliding doors can close off the section.
“Bringing this kind of restaurant to campus will help us fulfill one of the initiatives of UTSA 2016, which is to support student success by offering a broad array of opportunities for engagement in campus life. We want to create community, and we believe the Chili’s Too at UTSA will help us do that in a new and engaging way,” Business Auxiliary Director Jane Wilcox said.
Other campuses that have a Chili’s Too include Baylor University and University of Houston. The Chili’s Too is located in the parking lot at Baylor University and is in a basement at the University of Houston.
“This is by far the best location,” Wilcox said. “In just over two months the space was converted from the former Tomas Rivera Center to the wonderful establishment we opened today.”
The restaurant has the Chili’s theme like other Chili’s in the franchise and also has one of the only two UTSA football helmets in front where food is ordered. No restrooms are located inside the Chili’s Too, so customers will have to exit the restaurant to find the nearest restroom.
Suggestions have already been made to increase popularity at Chili’s Too, and one includes transforming the patio directly outside the Chili’s Too into an outside dining place.
“If we have the money to do it, and students want it, we will give it to them,” Wilcox said.
Most students will be working part-time in the front of the restaurant or in the kitchen doing “assembly to order” Marr said. The full-time staff will handle the “cook to order” section where more food handling experience is necessary.
The wait for food is aimed to be around 10-11 minutes and that will be a strong focus for the staff. From Feb. 8-12, Chili’s Too had their training days where they served about 120 people per food session (lunch and dinner) on Thursday and Friday.
Hours of operation will be Monday – Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday the restaurant will open at 3 p.m. and close 9 p.m.