OPINIONOperations

What can Bloomin' Brands expect from disgruntled shareholder Starboard Value?

Restaurant Rewind: There could be a preview in the pressure Starboard put on Bloomin' arch-rival Darden Restaurants nine years ago.

Every now and then, a public restaurant company finds itself in the crosshairs of an activist investor who’s convinced it can do a better job of running the business. But few of those attempts to wrest control of an operation come close to Starboard Capital’s successful attempt nine years ago to boot the whole board of Darden Restaurants and sharply change the casual-dining giant’s direction.

And now Starboard has another casual-dining behemoth in its sights. The investment firm has filed notice that it intends to lean on Bloomin’ Brands, the parent of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s, to force some changes.  

What can the Bloomin’ team expect from what now appears to be its largest shareholder?

The current episode of Restaurant Rewind attempts to answer that question by looking back at the 2014 interactions between Starboard and Darden. At the heart of that give-and-take was what may be the most exhaustive list of alleged ills an investor has ever gathered on a holding, a 294-page slide deck and whitepaper on what Darden had supposedly done wrong and how it could right itself.

Join us for that look at sins ranging from not salting pasta water to how a fileted trout was presented. Download the episode from wherever you usually get your podcasts.

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