Brinker boosts profit, will add pizza to Chili's menu

North Texas, already home to at least six of the nation’s largest pizza chains, is adding a new pizza player: Chili’s.

As it discussed financial results for the second quarter, Brinker International, the parent of Chili’s Grill & Bar, announced plans to begin serving pizza in all 823 company-owned Chili’s restaurants. That includes more than 70 in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The company-store rollout, which follows a test in 41 locations, is expected to be complete by late March. Advertising won’t launch until closer to summer.

While Chili’s is known more for ribs and burgers, it is adding to its lineup after outfitting its kitchens with new equipment, including impinger ovens.

“We’re rolling out our first major platform that takes advantage of our new ovens: pizza,” Wyman Roberts, Brinker’s new chief executive and president, told analysts Tuesday.

“We’ll bring [pizza] to our franchise system once their new kitchens have been installed, more towards the end of the quarter,” he said.

The new pizza lineup includes a taco pizza, pepperoni, and Southwestern with onion and bell pepper.

At the Chili’s on Preston Road near LBJ Freeway, a 9-inch pizza sells for about $12, according to a worker there.

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