First the Stock's Downgraded. Then, Some Chili's Abruptly Close.

At the end of last week, shares of Dallas-based Brinker International stock took a bit of a dive after an analyst downgraded the stock, insisting the company behind Chili's, Romano's Macaroni Grill, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and Maggiano's Little Italy was about to hit a rough patch. As in: "We believe Brinker faces an uphill battle to win back consumers, control costs, and continue with other strategic initiatives." Shades of early April, when an analyst shifted to neutral on Brinker stock.

The stock has rebounded slightly today. But now comes word that several Chili's locations in Oregon and Washington State are kaput immediately, throwing about 200 unsuspecting employees out of work. According to this story, the decision was made not by Brinker, but an Arizona-based franchisee. --Robert Wilonsky


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