NBC is developing a new sitcom based on the day-to-day lives of “super trainers” at mid-level burgers-and-more dining chain Chili’s.
It may be highly specific subject matter, but it’s for good reason: according to industry publication Deadline the sitcom is inspired by GQ writer Daniel Riley’s essay about the chain, “Inside the Church of Chili’s.” In that longread, Riley details the company’s particularly enthusiastic corporate culture, focusing on traveling “super trainers,” a group who travel to forthcoming Chili’s locations to train staff.
For Riley, such trainers don’t see Chili’s as just a job, it’s more of a lifestyle. In his words, they are:
High attendants to a shared orthodoxy... they are like soldiers or missionaries. They are the true believers. Their church, in this case, just happens to be a restaurant chain that accessorizes generously with oversize plastic peppers.
Given the over-the-top zeal Riley ascribes to such Chili’s staff, it’s easy to see the potential for laughs — it’s very much in the same vein as other NBC comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation that have taken mundane workplaces and elevated them into sublime ridiculousness.
Riley’s piece only serves as inspiration (he’s not involved), but Veep co-executive producer Sean Gray is partially behind it, as is magazine giant Condé Nast’s production arm, Condé Nast Entertainment. For legal reasons, the comedy won’t actually focus on Chili’s per se, but will presumably poke fun at a fictional dining chain which is suspiciously similar to the Texas-based slinger of ribs and fajitas.
The still-to-be-named comedy will follow an ensemble cast of “super trainers” opening new locations for a made-up, definitely-not-Chili’s chain restaurant. There’s no production timeline for the series at this stage.