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Outback owner Bloomin’ Brands isn’t selling the business — right now

After announcing it would explore a sale, the Bloomin’ CEO says the most interest lies in selling off business interests in Brazil.
Outback Steakhouse at 4302 W. Boy Scout Blvd. near International Plaza and Bay Street. [Monique Welch | Times] [BY MONIQUE WELCH | Monique Welch]

TAMPA — After exploring a sale since last year, Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands told investors Tuesday that it likely won’t put its entire business on the market anytime soon.

That means — for now, at least — the Bloomin’ headquarters will stay in Tampa.

CEO David Deno said the restaurant company’s board had been looking into the benefits of a sale since November, but "at this point, nothing compelling has materialized for an outright sale.”

Related: Will Bloomin’ Brands be the next big company to leave the Tampa Bay area?

Deno said the company is looking into selling off its business interests in Brazil, but didn’t offer much detail. The Brazil Outback Steakhouse restaurants reported a 5.8 percent increase in sales over 2019.

“One thing we know for sure is we have a fantastic business down there,” Deno said in a phone call with investors on Tuesday. “There’s a lot of interest.”

Deno said the board will continue to take a deep look at the business and its strategies. While there is no immediate sale plan, he wouldn’t take a sale off the table. He said the board would evaluate any credible offers.

The restaurant company — which also owns Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar — reported a 1.2 percent increase in comparative sales over the 2019 fiscal year. It’s leading restaurant, Outback, grew sales 2 percent over the year and 2.7 percent in the last quarter.

Related: Outback owner Bloomin’ Brands could get new board members picked by activist investor

Bloomin’ also has opened seven new restaurants — five of which were outside the United States.

The company has spent the past year focusing on delivery and pickup orders, which it calls “off-premise sales.” In September, it launched a partnership with meal delivery app Doordash while continuing to grow its own delivery network.

Off-premise sales made up 15 percent of overall sales at Outback and 21 percent at Carrabba’s during the fourth quarter, Deno said.

The company also laid out plans to cut $40 million in costs over the next two years.

Bloomin’ has continued to cut back on promotional discounts and, instead, has grown a loyalty program to 10.2 million members.

Going into 2020, the company said it will open about 25 new restaurants. It expects earnings for its investors to range between $1.63 to $1.68 per share for the year.

Bloomin’ Brands’ stock closed up about 3.5 percent at $22.31 per share Tuesday.

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