Not much of an apppetite for Chili’s…

September 10, 2007

images-21.jpegUsually, it’s hard to find someone who turns down free food. But judging by the proxy that Brinker International (EAT) filed this morning, at least three of the company’s 9 directors turned down a chance to chomp down on free food at Brinker’s mall-friendly restaurants, which include Chili’s, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and On the Border. Among those who “just said no” to such yummies as the “Quesadilla Explosion” were Pentagon head Robert M. Gates, who stepped down from Brinker’s board back in December.

According to the proxy, which disclosed this perk for the first time, Brinker’s directors each receive a “complimentary dining card for use in our restaurants”, which the company says is worth under $10,000 per director. While the company doesn’t say how much each director ate, it does provide information on the tax gross-up for the value of the food. Since three directors, including Gates, didn’t get any gross up, they either didn’t use the card or didn’t eat at Brinker’s restaurants. The other two directors with no appetite for the free food are former Border’s President George Mrkonic and former Starwood executive John Mims, who joined the Brinker board in February. On the flip side, director Ron Kirk, a partner at Texas law firm Vinson & Elkins and the former mayor of Dallas, used the benefit the most, judging by his tax gross-up of $1,022.

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