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Memphis, Tennessee - November 9, 2010 —The must-have tween accessory of 2010—the collectible rubber bracelet—helped Chili's® Grill & Bar raise $5.6 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital this year. One dollar from each $3, five-pack of chili pepper-shaped wristbands sold, benefited Chili's annual fundraiser to St. Jude, the nation's top ranked children's cancer hospital. The wristbands proved so popular that they sold out in restaurants nationwide in less than 30 days.
The wristbands were just one of four new ways Chili's engaged guests during the brand's seventh annual Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign. Several new digital components also played a large role in fundraising efforts this year. Between the inaugural mobile donation initiative (text HOPE to 90999), $1 donations made for each new Chili's e-club members sign up and digital peppers created online, guests were offered a variety of interactive ways to support St. Jude and the care the hospital provides to children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. The campaign culminated on September 27 when participating Chili's restaurants nationwide donated 100 percent of the day's profits to the campaign.
"Through the Create-A-Pepper campaign, Chili's continues to come up with new and innovative ideas for their employees and customers to support the lifesaving research and treatment being done at St. Jude,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., chief executive officer of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. "The chili pepper-shaped wristbands provide a way for children to help other children, which is truly an inspiring concept. On behalf of the entire St. Jude family, I'd like to say thank you to Chili's, their team members and guests."
Key highlights of the 2010 Create-A-Pepper campaign include:
"Engaging guests in the ways most meaningful to them and simplifying their ability to contribute and spread the word about St. Jude proved to be key drivers in this year's success," said Wyman Roberts, president of Chili's Grill & Bar. "I credit our team members across the country for serving as ambassadors of this campaign by fostering that engagement with our guests."
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. In 2010, St. Jude was ranked the most trusted charity in the nation in a public survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a highly respected international polling and research firm. St. Jude was also named the nation's top children's cancer hospital in the 2010-11 Best Children's Hospitals rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, go to www.stjude.org and follow St. Jude on www.facebook.com/stjude and www.twitter.com/stjude.
Chili's Grill & Bar is the flagship brand of Dallas-based Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT), a recognized leader in casual dining. Chili's offers a fun, energetic atmosphere and a distinct, fresh mix of grilled American favorites at more than 1,510 locations in 30 countries and two territories. Brinker's wholly-owned restaurant brands include Chili's® Grill & Bar, and Maggiano's Little Italy®. Brinker also holds a minority investment in Romano's Macaroni Grill®. Follow news about Chili's on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chilis, @Chilis on Twitter and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/chilis. For more information, please visit www.chilis.com.
About Create-A-Pepper: Each September during National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Chili's Grill & Bar kicks off a nationwide fundraiser for longtime charitable partner, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in an effort to raise $50 million in 10 years to support the St. Jude mission of finding cures and saving children. Throughout the Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign, guests at locations nationwide and in Puerto Rico can help support the lifesaving work of St. Jude through several in-restaurant, digital and interactive promotions. For additional information about the campaign, please visit www.createapepper.com.