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.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Will Subway make Roark Capital too dominant? Not really

The Bottom Line: The addition of the sandwich giant will make Roark a bigger player than McDonald's in the U.S. But its position in the sandwich market will not be all that unusual.


Restaurants still look expensive, and consumers are reacting

The Bottom Line: Restaurants have stepped off the pricing gas. But sales are slowing and traffic is weak, and more operators are turning to price promotions.


Does California just hate restaurants?

Reality Check: The industry's largest state market is about to hit the business, a significant part of its economy, with all sorts of changes and new burdens. What gives?


More from our partners