What Does Your Choice of Casual Dining Chain Say About You?

Interchangeable pseudofood joint Chili's—intent on "spicing up its brand"—is spending millions on a new ad campaign, one part of which is summed up thusly by the company's ad genius: "How he behaves is bold, how she behaves is bold, and the food we're featuring in the spot is boldly flavored."

Sounds bold, right? Really bold. But with all these "casual dining" chains spending well over $100 million per year each to try to distinguish themselves from one another, we must ask: is this even a worthwhile endeavor? At a time when Olive Garden is struggling financially, shouldn't all of our nation's casual dining chains be working together, rather than trying to convince consumers that one reheated corn syrup-soaked rib rack is better than another.

You are the backbone of middle American restaurants, casual dining chains. Why fight?

Underlying Message of Dining At:

Chili's: "There's a Chili's, let's just go there."
Olive Garden: "I only have five bucks but I can eat a shitload of breadsticks."
Applebee's: "I guess this is as good as anything else."
Red Lobster: "If Carla orders shrimp, she better put out tonight."
TGI Friday's: "I can have a burger, it's fine."
Outback Steakhouse: "I have never even been to the other side of Michigan, much less to Australia."
All: "Whatever."

[Photo: Tom Nguyen/ Flickr. Hey, remember this?]