Chili’s Has Taken a Classic Off the Menu

Some fans aren’t happy, but the decision actually makes a lot of sense.

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hand dipping chicken tender
Screenshot: Delish / YouTube

Chicken tenders are an essential item on any mid-tier chain restaurant menu. They’re a known crowd pleaser, a sure sell, and if done correctly, they can become a restaurant’s signature item. For a restaurant like Chili’s, chicken tenders have become the bread and butter, as it were—but it turns out that the Original Chicken Crispers, a longtime Chili’s classic, have been discontinued.

Like many other brands that chose to stop making beloved foods, Chili’s hasn’t made a big fuss about removing the Original Chicken Crispers from its menu. But for people who want chicken tenders, there are still options. The Original Chicken Crispers feature a tempura-like batter on them, and they’re different from the Crispy Chicken Crispers, which have a craggy and crunchy crust. The Crispy Crispers, in my opinion, have always been the superior dish, and those haven’t left the menu.

Why Chili’s removed Original Chicken Crispers from the menu

Chili’s confirmed the news to The Dallas Morning News. The Original Crispers had been around since the 1990s, but they just weren’t a hot seller once the Crispy Chicken Crispers had been introduced; Chili’s told The Dallas Morning News that prior to the Original Crispers’ removal from the menu, the Crispy Crispers accounted for 80% of all orders. Some Reddit users are up in arms about the removal, since there’s no better place to vent your frustrations about beloved canceled foods, but the sales data makes the decision pretty understandable.

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“I am Livid that they got rid of the best meal on the menu,” reads one Reddit post. “I’m going to pray they bring them back every night!”

“Literally I don’t want anything else on this menu,” wrote another user. “I’m done with chilis for good.”

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Still another Reddit user, who appears to be a Chili’s employee, explained the situation: “We sell about 1000 crispy crispers a day vs the 20 regular crispers. That’s why they got rid of it. They are trying to reduce unneeded items on there menu to make it easier for there cooks. They actually care about the input from there employees and look at the numbers on what sells.”

The disappointed user was not impressed by the alleged employee’s explanation. “I understand what you are saying but I’m seriously not okay,” they responded. “This has been my comfort food since I was a child. Tempura batter is not hard to keep on the side. It’s a staple to their menu and the ONLY chain that does it justice.”

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It’s a stark example of how tightly we cling to the foods we grew up with. As time goes on, it’s only natural that fast food menu items—even some of our favorites—will disappear from chain restaurant menus. These chains are massive, profit-driven businesses, and despite the fervor of a vocal contingent of fans, Chili’s probably won’t see a huge loss in business from angry Original Chicken Crisper lovers boycotting the restaurant. For anyone looking for a copycat recipe, YouTube has plenty of ideas.