Like legions of other hotels, restaurants, and bars, Chili’s is capitalizing on the excitement around Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s upcoming royal wedding. Unlike many other food establishments, however, Chili’s doesn’t serve tea or cake or traditional English breakfasts or really anything that might lend itself a British air.
So instead, the Dallas-based chain has launched a collection of fascinators, as Restaurant Business editor Heather Lalley first noticed this morning:
May 4, 2018
Given the sheer number of fast-food marketing stunts — some of which, like Arby’s tepid Warby Parker collaboration, are actually just jokes — the brand went out of their way to confirm it on Twitter:
It's totally real. #ChilisRoyalWedding #RoyalWedding— Chili's Grill & Bar (@Chilis) May 4, 2018
Fascinators, you may recall, became a fast (and brief) fashion obsession right around the last British royal wedding, in 2011. As a culture with a complicated on-again, off-again relationship with hats, Americans were fascinated (sorry) by the outlandish, theatrical hats on the heads of female wedding guests of Prince William and Catherine’s wedding. A spike in Google searches and purchases followed.
But the inclination to adapt these sculptural headpieces into hamburgers and other ridiculous items isn’t just Americans being dumb Americans. The British have also gone a little nuts with fascinators in recent years, from bigger feathers and flowers to actual birds, butterflies, baby rattles, a mini Big Ben, and a London tube sign (worn mostly at the annual Royal Ascot which bears resemblance to the Kentucky Derby but, as a multi-day outdoor event that doubles as one long Instagram moment, is actually more like England’s Coachella, actual royal attendees notwithstanding).
In short, Chili’s may not be as far afield with their fast-food fascinators as you might think (though we’re disappointed that Burger King, White Castle, or another more royal-sounding chain didn’t think of it first).
Update, 2:34 p.m., May 4: Chili’s confirms the hats are sadly not for consumer sale “because we only made a select few.” Bummer.
• @flourgrrrl [Twitter]