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Outback, Fleming’s to raise menu prices, Tampa’s Bloomin’ Brands says

Prices at the family of restaurants will go up slightly this fall as the chain tries to offset rising costs.
Signs advertise that Outback Steakhouse in Palm Harbor is open in May 2020. Bloomin' Brands, the Tampa company that owns Outback and other restaurant chains, said Tuesday it planned to raise menu prices by 3 percent this fall to combat inflation.
Signs advertise that Outback Steakhouse in Palm Harbor is open in May 2020. Bloomin' Brands, the Tampa company that owns Outback and other restaurant chains, said Tuesday it planned to raise menu prices by 3 percent this fall to combat inflation. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Nov. 3
Updated Nov. 3

Inflation is coming for your Bloomin’ Onion.

Tampa’s Bloomin’ Brands said Tuesday it expects to raise menu prices this fall by an average of 3 percent across its family of restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill.

Executives said the price hikes were necessary to combat expected rises in the price in labor, fuel, freight, commodities and other costs, which the company projected could total around $170 million in the coming months. Raising menu prices could save the company around $100 million, said chief financial officer Chris Meyer.

“We’re not beyond taking a little more menu pricing if that’s necessary,” Meyer said on a call with investors. “We feel very good about our ability to manage the inflation pressures that we see in front of us.”

Related: As hyperinflation talk mounts, Florida reckons with rising prices

It’s the company’s first significant menu price increase since 2019, Meyer said. The new prices will go into effect in late November.

Bloomin’ Brands outlined other areas in which they might offset wage inflation and other higher costs, including a fewer number of limited-time discounts and technological upgrades designed to improve efficiency.

For the quarter ending Sept. 30, Bloomin’ Brands saw revenues of just over $1 billion, up from $967.1 million during the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic. Bloomin’ stock closed at $20.27 per share on Tuesday, down from $22.57 the day before.

“We remain optimistic as a company, and we’re seeing really great demand at our restaurants,” said CEO David Deno.

Related: The cost of the pandemic: How Tampa Bay lost billions from COVID-19

But he added that the company could look at raising menu prices more than 3 percent, if continued inflation demands it.

“If we need to, of course we will, as the economy unfolds,” he said.