Woman talking(L), Chili's storefront(c), Hand holding up chilibucks(r)

Billy F Blume Jr/Shutterstock @ficusgirlxoxo/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘So instead of a bonus and overtime you get coupons’: Chili’s worker says manager gave them ‘Chili Bucks’

'That means your job is broke.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Feb 7, 2024   Updated on Feb 14, 2024, 12:58 pm CST

At a time when job-hopping remains popular, companies are looking for any way they can keep employees engaged and interested in the workplace.

While this can occasionally include raises, it typically takes the form of other perks, such as free food or small prizes to keep morale high. SHRM also notes that benefits such as flexible working options, career development options, and wellness add-ons like gym memberships can also be effective in improving the spirits of workers.

These options are not without controversy, as TikTok user and Chili’s worker @ficusgirlxoxo recently learned.

In a video with over 1.4 million views, @ficusgirlxoxo says that her Chili’s location began offering her “Chili Bucks,” which can be earned for good performance and exchanged for gifts.

“Basically, you can save them up and redeem them for different things like sweatshirts, hats, fanny packs, all with Chili’s logos and stuff,” the TikToker explains.

The user then says that they were able to exchange their Chili Bucks for five $5 PetsMart gift cards, which they used to buy goods for their pets. The total cost to them was 100 Chili Bucks.

“Thanks, Chili’s!” she says at the end of the video.

At first, some commenters met the idea with enthusiasm.

“Okay but honestly, this typa compensation from a job would keep me motivated to go,” wrote a user.

“Bro you don’t even know [how] hard I’d work if we had a little reward system like this,” added another.

However, other commenters countered that they would rather receive money than something like Chili Bucks.

“That means your job is broke,” declared a user. “They’re not trying to pay you more.”

“Orrrr they can just give you a raise,” added another.

@ficusgirlxoxo Im so used to giving now i finally get to recieve #chilis #petsmart #petsmarthaul #hamster #tarantula ♬ original sound – ficus girl

In a follow-up video, @ficusgirlxoxo says that she initially attempted to exchange them for cash, but that she’s since enjoyed the process of collecting Chili’s Bucks and being able to exchange them for PetsMart gift cards.

“I’m definitely not a Chili’s bootlicker by any means, but this is just like a fun, cute thing, and some people really do want the sweatshirts and stuff,” she explains in the video. “If they want to keep bringing me PetSmart gift cards, I’ll keep taking them. That’s free money; that’s $25 that I didn’t have before, so I’ll take it.”

@ficusgirlxoxo Replying to @Bob ♬ original sound – ficus girl

In another follow-up, she explains how she earns Chili Bucks.

According to the TikToker, most guests pay via devices on the table, which also allows them to review their server. These reviews are then used to determine how many Chili Bucks a server will receive that night.

However, that’s not the only way to earn Chili Bucks.

@ficusgirlxoxo Replying to @Shay Meadows-Lehman ♬ original sound – ficus girl

“We’ve also done bingo cards, so it’s like, ‘if you sell a Truly, you cross it off. If you sell a certain appetizer with a certain entree, you cross it off,’ and you can win Chili Bucks that way as well,” she details. “And then over the weekend, the manager hid a bunch of Chili Bucks around the restaurant, so it was like a scavenger hunt and we had to find them.”

Overall, the TikToker says she enjoys the experience.

“I think one of our managers just started it, and it’s a lot of fun,” she states. “It’s definitely cute.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Chili’s via email and @ficusgirlxoxo via TikTok direct message.

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*First Published: Feb 7, 2024, 8:00 am CST