|Wholly owned subsidiary|
Chris T. Sullivan
|Headquarters||Tampa, Florida, U.S.|
Number of locations
|North America, Australia, Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Brazil, China, Chile, Costa Rica, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Venezuela|
Outback Steakhouse is an Australian-themed American casual dining restaurant chain, serving American cuisine, based in Tampa, Florida, with over 1,000 locations in 23 countries throughout North and South America, Asia, and Australia. It was founded in March 1988 in Tampa by Bob Basham, Chris T. Sullivan, Trudy Cooper, and Tim Gannon. It was owned and operated in the United States by OSI Restaurant Partners until it was acquired by Bloomin' Brands, and by other franchise and venture agreements internationally.
Canadian Outback restaurants began in 1996. In March 2009, Outback Steakhouse Canada abruptly closed all nine locations in the province of Ontario, citing poor economic conditions. However, the restaurant later opened a location in Niagara Falls, Ontario; its Edmonton, Alberta, franchise remains in operation.
In 1997, Outback entered the South Korean market through the franchise agreement with Aussie Chung Inc. Currently, there are 101 Outback Steakhouse locations throughout South Korea. Outback opened its first location in Japan in 2000; it now operates nine restaurants there.
On June 14, 2007, OSI Restaurant Partners completed a stock repurchase plan, and the company became privately held. In April 2012, Bloomin' Brands, the current owner of Outback Steakhouse, filed with the SEC to raise up to $300 million in an initial public offering.
All meat is heavily seasoned; there is a 17-spice blend for the steaks themselves. Outback bills its food as "full flavor". It fries its food in beef tallow and uses real butter and heavy cream in many dishes. Burgers are ground from beef tenderloin. Menus are highly regionalized. Crayfish appear in some dishes in Southern American locations, as do sweet potatoes. Eastern locations often feature Maine lobster tails, while western locations frequently serve Alaskan king crab legs and cakes.
Outback's bar selections are also highly regionalized. Outback serves Foster's Lager, an Australian brand of beer exported around the world. Other Australian beers often served include Tooheys New, Boag's, and Coopers Premium Lager, Sparkling Ale, and Pale Ale. Wine selections vary but often include Australian wineries Yellow Tail, Lindeman's, and Rosemount.
Although a number of menu items are grilled, steaks are prepared on a griddle using butter as a heat transfer medium. Because they are cooked solely by conduction, their surfaces are cooked much more rapidly than their centers, and Outback follows a standard meat temperature (rarity) scale.
The use of fats in such liberal quantities has brought the chain under major fire from many health advocates: Men's Health magazine condemned Outback's Aussie Cheese Fries as the "Worst Food in America," with 182 grams (1,638 calories) of fat and nearly 3,000 calories per order.
In Malaysia, Outback Steakhouse offers a pork-free menu to cater to Muslim customers.
Since early 2010, Outback has displayed full nutritional data on its food.
Outback has now added a "light style" option to the menu. This option is designed to prepare meals under 500 calories by carefully proportioning out sides and preparing the meals without butter and added fats and salt.
The Bloomin' Onion is a signature Outback item. It is a one-pound onion cut to 'bloom' open, breaded, deep-fried and served with mayonnaise-horseradish sauce. Other restaurants offer items similar to the Bloomin' Onion, as in Chili's Awesome Blossom (discontinued) and Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon's Texas Rose. Many of the Bloomin' Onions have come under fire for high-calorie counts, sometimes going over 1,500 calories.
Outback Steakhouse has a program to support the communities in which its restaurants are located. They've also joined GroupRaise, a platform were non-profits can book restaurant fundraisers in their locations. On a national level, Outback partners with Heineken USA and their Heineken with a Heart program to raise funds for various organizations in these communities.
The company and its founders are major contributors, via the Outback Steakhouse PAC, to the Republican Party, contributing $303,015 and $334,197 for the 2000 and 2004 election cycles, respectively. The Outback Steakhouse PAC itself is one of the largest donors in the food and beverage sector, second only to the National Restaurant Association, which itself represents 300,000 restaurants.
Outback is also a partner of the Tampa Bay Lightning and has a concession stand in Amalie Arena.
In 2012, Outback Steakhouse became a sponsor of the Ryan Newman and the No.39 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In their first race as sponsor, Newman won the 2012 Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. One of the promotions the company had with Newman is a free Bloomin' Onion on the Monday after a race in which Newman would finish in the Top 10.Kevin Harvick took over Outback's sponsorship and promotion in 2014 for two races in their No. 4, after Newman left the team to drive Richard Childress Racing's No.31 car. The company also sponsored retired Sprint Cup Series driver and current Fox NASCAR announcer Jeff Gordon's No. 67 for the AC-Delco 200 in the Busch Series during the 1990 season.