One of casual dining’s big problems is the sameness of the menus sported by the segment’s behemoths. A contributor to the commoditization is the fried-onion appetizer that originally appeared at Outback as the Bloomin’ Onion. It’s since become as much of a segment staple as nachos, burgers or beer.
Now the originator is tweaking the prototype in hopes of bolstering traffic. The most recent iteration: The 3-Point Bloomin’ Onion, or a basic Bloomin’ Onion topped with steak, chopped bacon, french fries and two types of cheese.
It follows the successful limited-time offer of the Loaded Bloomin’ Onion, which was virtually the 3-Point (so named in recognition of the NCAA playoffs) with ranch dressing replacing the steak. Liz Smith, CEO of Outback parent Bloomin’ Brands, cited the Loaded version as a prime example of how the chain intends to woo customers without cutting prices.
Health advocates continue to blast Outback for taking a product that already packed nearly 2,000 calories and increasing the payload with fat-rich toppings.