Outback Steakhouse is making a comeback! After a sales slump in 2016, customers are returning to the casual restaurant chain known for its Bloomin’ Onion!
Outback’s parent company, Bloomin’ Brands Inc., announced a 1.4% increase in comparable restaurant sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2017.
Although that may not seem like much to write home about, it really is!
What’s new at Outback Steakhouse…
Casual restaurants have been struggling for more than a decade — since the recession — as more people choose to eat at fast-casual chains or simply cook at home.
To keep up its new momentum, Outback is making some changes that may affect your wallet!
1. Fewer promotions?!?
If you’re looking for the very best value, you probably won’t get it at Outback. As struggling competitor Applebee’s hints that more deals are on the horizon, Outback is trying to get away from so many promotions.
“We are committed to continuing the march toward reducing discounting across our portfolio, and we like what we’re seeing,” said Bloomin’ Brands CEO Liz Smith.
However, a check of the brand’s Twitter account shows that promos aren’t going away completely:
It's Bloomin' Monday! Free Bloomin' Onion w/ purchase on Monday, May 1st. Mention to your server to redeem. pic.twitter.com/rXpOiM3de6
— Outback Steakhouse (@Outback) May 1, 2017
In lieu of discounts, Outback plans to elevate the customer experience by focusing on food quality and portion enhancements, plus some service upgrades.
Frequent visitors may want to join the free Dine Rewards program for 50% off every fourth visit.
2. Delivery service is expanding!
If millennials don’t want to eat inside casual dining restaurants, there’s a simple fix: deliver to them!
Outback said it’s getting in on the delivery game. The chain is testing third-party options and its own delivery network to bring your favorite Outback flavors right to your door.
Delivery is currently being offered at more than 100 Outback locations. See if yours is on the list.
3. Renovations and relocations
After Bloomin’ Brands closed more than 40 Outback, Carrabba’s and Bonefish locations in February, company executives made no mention of any additional closures on a recent earnings call.
However, renovations and relocations within existing markets are definitely in the works.
Outback is in the middle of a multi-year exterior remodeling effort at locations across the country, which has resulted in 4% to 5% sales growth at those restaurants.
As for changes on the inside, there are plans to “improve ambiance,” but the CEO gave no specifics.