Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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October 26th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Social Commentary

From the What The Hell is Going On Department.

I mean, let’s just get straight to it right? Is Chili’s serving up a load of crap or what?

Is Chili's Serving Up Crap Now?

Click After Reading For Chili's Reviews - Is Chili's Serving Up Crap Now?

Does Doug Brooks, Chairman, President, and CEO of Chili’s want people to stay fat and NOT lose weight? It’s a legitimate question if what I’m hearing out of Orlando Florida is true.

First let me say that anybody who reads this column knows I hate being ripped off (I don’t care if it’s for .98 cents), bad service, products that don’t work, bureaucratic ineptitude, policies that are just plain stupid or a flat out lack of common sense.

Now, I haven’t eaten at Chili’s since 1998 after an experience there which I won’t recount – let’s just say I went to Olive Garden ever since, I don’t care how long the wait is before I would go to a Chili’s. Flat out – Olive Garden over Chili’s.

James Casazza is 39 years old and has taken up a hobby – playing and singing in a band, East Side Rock out of Orlando, Florida (link to video below). Let me also say that James is my cousin and you should read and/or form your opinion on this post having that knowledge. Nevertheless, as my readers know, I can assure you that I call ’em as I see ’em and play no favorites including with James who was born a Mets fan.

But back to the story, James is playing and singing in East Side Rock and losing weight which is actually more astonishing given the fact he was a Restaurant Manager at Chili’s in Oviedo, Florida. I remember when he took the job at Chili’s I almost convulsed.

One day a week or so ago, James broke his belt tightening his pants which wouldn’t stay up. So at the beginning of his shift he ran to the nearby Target, grabbed the first belt he saw and returned to his restaurant in less than 10 minutes. Two weeks later he was fired.

Talk about getting caught with your pants down.

Fired, ultimately, for losing weight? Have you seen the Chili’s menu? Maybe so?

According to Bill Lacey, Managing Partner/GM of the Chilis Restaurant in Oviedo, Florida (a subsidiary of Brinker International), what James did was a HUGE breech of security Protocol. Casazza was asked by Mr. Lacey a series of questions before calling in the Area Supervisor Mike Mann of Chili’s to come in and personally fire James.

QUESTION: – “What if the health inspector showed up at Chili’s?”
MY ANSWER: “He just ran across the street for a second to get a belt – his belt broke. People sometimes have emergencies at work. Like keeping their pants up.”

QUESTION: – “What if a team member was injured?”
A COMMON SENSE ANSWER: “Someone, my god, call 911 – don’t wait to find James who might be in the walk-in or having his own bathroom emergency at Chili’s. And what if there was no toilet paper? My GOD WHAT THEN?”

QUESTION: “What if the restaurant caught fire?”

Protocols aside – people have temporary emergencies at work. If so, common sense dictates that you tell someone that you have a situation and that you be right back I don’t care if it’s at a law firm or if you’re a plumber. I can see if you’re a life guard or a train conductor or pilot but come on, Chili’s? The point is, are we to infer that because this one guy went to go get a belt, the rest of the people at Chili’s would be unable to do anything in the event that a fire broke out, a stickup was announced or a customer choked or bit into a finger?

Talk about Finger Food. Give me a break! Is Chili’s Restaurant chain telling us that this one man, who took 8 minutes to go get a belt to hold his pants up – is what is standing in between Chili’s and Disaster??? Is it the same at all Chili’s or just the one in Oviedo?

It’s not just OMG, LMAO, or even WTF….. There are stupid reasons for getting fired but this is perhaps the stupidest reason for getting fired I’ve ever heard which makes one think that there’s something really wrong – not with Mr. Casazza, but with Chili’s as apparently all common sense is absent on this one.

Using this same stupid reasoning…. Let’s say Mr. Casazza was Jane Casazza and she just got her period at Chili’s (try not to think too hard about that one), and was in the bathroom? Should she run out of there, if there was an emergency like, say a meteorite hit the roof at the Chili’s in Oviedo?

And speak of he/she’s does Chili’s hire Transexual and/or Transgender employees. Are any trannys working at Chili’s? Do they have even have a single one???

On top of all this other, stuff, this “TRANNY” spired at 9:30 in the morning – a full hour and a half before the restaurant even opened!!!!

Okay I could have fun with this forever but WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON AT CHILI’S?

There is something to be said for making sure customers are safe…. but this is one of those situations where bad judgment and a lack of common sense on behalf of Chili’s is evident.

According to James, “None of this happened in the 8 minutes I was gone attending to a personal need. I was told that I could have sent a team member to the store for me. However, Mr. Lacey has told me in the past several times that we do not send team members for anything due to liability. So why would it be an ok solution in this case?”

Also doesn’t one receive a warning first which James I’m told never did, for anything. There are several lapses in logic and reasoning in this matter.

Above click the link to a website that I use called and I looked up Chili’s. There are 38 “complaints about Chili’s” to 8 “informative reviews” to 6 “compliments.”

Make your own judgment. Mine is clear. I’ll never eat at Chili’s.

Here’s a video of Jame’s Casazza playing music which he’ll have lots of time to do. Someone call Weird Al Yankovich because there’s definitely a song in this.

James Casazza of East Side Rock

James Casazza of East Side Rock

I would love to get your opinions and comments, and your friends and opinions and comments on this one.

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Destiny McDavid

    I personally know James and I think this is total BS! James is a hard working father and would have never done anything to put his career in jeopardy! I am, well WAS, a Chili’s fan but I think The next time I have a craving for chips and salsa, I will drive to TGIFridays! Rock on James!! Suck it Chili’s!!

  • Rosemarie Shearer

    I loved this!! haha I just got fired over chips and salsa from the same Chili’s! It’s not B ill’s fault, he’s just a robot who takes orders from corporate.. He has no mind of his own

  • Jaimi Putzke

    Brian…you are an absolute genius!!! First of all, I need to say that I am a friend of James’, but was not 100% on his side…until he told me that this incident happened at 9:45 a.m., more than 2 hours before the restaurant opened!!! As a nearby resident of Oviedo, I would also like to point out that the Target that James ran to and the Chili’s that he worked at “share” the same parking lot. He didn’t even have to cross a street!!! Also, I, personally saw the belt that James bought at Target, and it is clearly at least two sizes too small…which indicates to me that he didn’t take his time browsing for the perfect belt!!! In my opinion, Brian, that isn’t baby back ribs you’re smellin…that’s a lawsuit!!! smooches

  • abby wendle


    This is an interesting story. I work for a radio show called The Takeaway, a co-production of WNYC Radio and Public Radio International, in collaboration with The BBC World Service, New York Times Radio and WGBH Boston.

    We’re producing a story for tomorrow about getting fired for weird reasons and we would like to interview your cousin on the air, if he’s available. If you can pass along my contact information, I would really appreciate it. My phone number is 646-829-4060, ask for Abby and email:

    Abby Wendle

  • JM Rhoads

    I usually eat there twice a month-I will never eat there again. Looks like someone needs to go on undercover CEO to get a grip on life. What an idiot.


    […] Not too long ago I posted on what I (and many others) believed to be an utterly ridiculous reason for getting fired (see previous post – chilis-logic-is-hard-to-swallow. […]

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