Make us your home page
Instagram

OSI sales and profits improve slowly

TAMPA — Sales and profits are improving slowly at the parent of Outback Steakhouse, but officials Wednesday said a full-fledged fix requires a methodical plan to rejuvenate the brand.

"We expect our industry will continue to be soft in both sales and traffic through 2010," said Liz Smith, chief executive of OSI Restaurant Partners, which operates 1,477 restaurants and five casual dining chains. "So it is going to take investments in menu, marketing and stores for us to emerge from this economic environment as a winner."

Speaking on an earnings call for the first time since arriving at the Tampa company five months ago, Smith outlined plans to bulk up the company's research, consumer tracking, technology and training efforts. She also intends to spend up to $90 million on renovations at up to 50 of the 970 Outback stores, but added about half of them need it.

The key element: avoid deep discounting by offering a value menu enhanced with more variety, healthy choices and portion options. That includes launching several sub-500 calorie entrees this month.

Lauding OSI's talent and culture, she also is assembling a permanent team to look for efficiency and increased productivity.

"It is a muscle we need to develop so it becomes a mind-set, not a project," she said.

With the privately-held company still facing big debt payments, Smith has to bankroll new long-term strategies and experiments with productivity gains and cost cutting until sales rebound.

Indeed, revenues dropped 9 percent to $3.6 billion in 2009, down from $3.9 billion in 2008. The company lost $54 million, a significant improvement over a $739 million loss in 2008, most of which was for goodwill written down when OSI was taken private.

OSI's difficulties mirror the rest of the sit-down dining industry where same store sales decreases are partly blamed on lower prices needed to maintain traffic.

Most OSI brands drew more traffic in 2009, so those brands gained market share, officials said.

During the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, sales in stores open more than a year slumped, but less deeply than the double-digit declines of a year ago.

Outback and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse were down 6 percent while Carrabba's Italian Grill was down 4 percent. The company does not break out the performance of Roy's.

Bonefish Grill was among the few sit-down causal brands to show a positive sales gain of 1 percent.

The company reported that Smith was paid $4.8 million to take the job last year, virtually all of it in stock option awards since she earned only a fraction of her $1 million base salary.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.

OSI sales and profits improve slowly 03/31/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 4:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.