Outback Steakhouse parent Bloomin’ Brands Inc. held on to off-premises sales while continuing see in-store dining increase in the third quarter, the company said Tuesday.
Executives for the Tampa, Fla.-based casual-dining company, which also owns the Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar concepts, also said they were working on smaller prototype Outback that would be introduced in 2022.
The off-premises business “has proven be very sticky even as in restaurant volume improved in Q3,” said Christopher Meyer, Bloomin’ chief financial officer, in a third-quarter earnings call. “Off-premises represented 27% of U.S. sales, which was only slightly down from 28% in Q2. Off-premises revenues were 29% of sales at Outback and an impressive 36% of sales at Carrabba's.”
Those sales trends for pickup, to-go, curbside and delivery have continued into 2021’s last quarter, he added.
“All of these metrics have held steady early in Q4 — importantly the highly incremental third-party delivery business continues to grow and was 10% of U.S. revenues in Q3,” Meyer said. “Off-premises is a large part of our ongoing success and will remain a key part of our growth strategy moving forward.”
In the third quarter ended Sept. 26, Bloomin’ Brands’ same-store sales companywide were up 9.5% over 2019 and up 25.5% over 2020. Outback was up 6% over 2019 and 18.3% over 2020; Carrabba’s up 17.1% over 2019 and 28.8% over 2020; Bonefish up 5.7% over 2019 and 36.6% over 2020; and Flemings up 28% over 2019 and 59.6% over 2020.
The same-store sales trends continued into the first four weeks of the fourth quarter than ended Oct. 24, the company said. On a two-year basis, combined U.S. same-store sales so far in the last quarter were up 5%, with a two-year increase of 0.3% at Outback, 13.1% at Carrabba’s, 1.7% at Bonefish and 30.2% at Fleming’s.
The two-year comparison for Outback was diminished in part by a 2019 $16.99 steak and lobster promotion and a steak and shrimp deal that year, which were not brought back in 2021, said David Deno, Bloomin’ Brands CEO.
Deno said the company will reveal details in 2022 of an Outback prototype that is smaller than current restaurants. The new prototype is in test in Brazil, he noted.
The new restaurant, Deno added, is “a smaller footprint Outback that still has a large number of seats [and] is off-premises-delivery enabled.” Deno added that new Outback units have average unit volumes of above $4 million and AUVs for relocated Outback units are opening at $4.5 million.
Bloomin’ executives said curbside leads the way in off-premises profitability, offsetting the lower margins in third-party delivery. Deno noted that third-party platforms do provide the opportunity for extra pricing.
“On the third-party sales front,” Deno said, “we're clearly seeing a new customer. You can tell by when they order, how they order [and] what they're ordering.”
For the third quarter ended Sept. 26, Bloomin’ Brands swung to a profit of $3.4 million, or 3 cents a share, from a loss of $17.6 million, or 20 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Revenues rose 31% to $1 billion from $771.3 million in the same period last year.
Bloomin’ Brands operates and franchises more than 1,450 restaurants in 47 states, Guam and 19 countries.
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