Emerging Brands

Outback’s parent debuts a new concept

The parent company of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill has quietly opened a new delivery-and-takeout-only concept that features menu selections from the two casual-dining brands.

Bloomin’ Brands CEO Liz Smith revealed to financial analysts that the first Outback and Carrabba's Express is open in Hollywood, Fla., but did not divulge any operational information. But she noted that the company intends to open “three or four more” during the next two months in “geographies that we know will support even more delivery.”

She explained that those areas could be new territories for Outback and Carrabba’s, or markets where the brands have a presence and off-premise sales tend to be higher.

About 250 of the company’s restaurants offer delivery.

In addition to Outback and Carrabba’s, Bloomin’ owns and operates the Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime steakhouse chain.

Express illustrates “the leverage of having a portfolio to be able to take advantage of off-premise,” said Smith. “OK, so that's going to be growing.”

The combo unit features the signatures of both Outback and Carrabba's, arrayed on the menu in separate sections divided by brands.

The Outback menu, for instance, features the Bloomin’ Onion, the Bloomin’ and Outback burgers and a line of steaks. Prices run as high as $27.99 for a 9-ounce filet mignon.

The Carrabba’s section lists pizzas, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes and several steaks.

A childrens menu and lineup of drinks, both alcoholic and soft, are included in each section.

Catering is also offered from the prototype. Delivery is provided by Uber and Bloomin employees, according to the company.

With traffic and sales declining in the casual-dining market, a number of contenders in that segment have looked at ways of riding the off-premise boom. Buffalo Wild Wings has opened a scaled-down takeout and delivery riff, B-Dubs Wings Express, as has Hooters, with a concept called Hoots. Red Robin has shown interest in developing a venture after closing its first experiment with a fast-casual-type spinoff, Burger Works.

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