What’s the one word you associate with Outback Steakhouse? Considering the accent featured in every Outback commercial it would be Australia, right? Well in fact, Outback’s founders hadn’t ever visited Australia before opening their first location. Read on for these and other facts about the “No Rules. Just Right” chain.
Outback Steakhouse was founded in February 1988 by four restaurant industry veterans, Bob Basham, Chris T. Sullivan, Trudy Cooper, and Tim Gannon. In the late 1980s, the film Crocodile Dundee and its sequels were huge hits and sparked a wave of enthusiasm for all things Aussie in America (like throwing shrimp on the barbie). Australia was cool, and Outback opened to ride that wave from Down Under. Its fun and novel atmosphere paired with the fact that diners could enjoy a steak dinner for far less money than your average steakhouse were keys to success, and the chain’s popularity took off, going public in 1991 as a 49-restaurant chain.
Today there are more than 1,200 Outback locations in 23 countries, including North and South America, Asia, Europe, and even (yes) Australia, where there are seven locations. The restaurant group that runs Outback, Bloomin’ Brands, also owns Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar.
Yes, Outback is about as American as it gets, with its huge steaks and deep-fried appetizers. It’s a theme restaurant, just like Olive Garden doesn’t actually have any Italian roots. But as far as chain restaurants go, Outback is one that’s just about impossible to dislike. Read on for 10 things you didn’t know about Outback Steakhouse.
Outback’s Founders Never Visited Australia
Yep: When the founders were putting together their business plan, none of them had ever visited the continent and they weren’t even particularly well-versed in its food or customs. Apparently a research trip was proposed but shot down, because all the founders were going for was “American food and Australian fun.”
Outback’s Steak Spice Blend Contains 17 Spices
That spice blend took a long time to develop, but it wasn’t created for the restaurant; co-founder Tim Gannon actually developed the recipe while working as a chef at a restaurant called Copeland’s in New Orleans. So if anything, Outback’s steaks have more of a Cajun kick than an Aussie one.