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Outback question

Does anyone know why Outback doesn't serve lunch, at least on weekends? It's been around at least twenty years now and there's STILL always a crowd and a wait for a table. I can't imagine that it wouldn't do well at lunch too.

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  1. I expect its because they know (through market research, at which they're clearly quite good) that their price points are more than most people are willing to pay for lunch.

    Its not a quick place to eat a meal (ie, you can do it in under an hour but you have to press pretty hard to do so) and I'm also guessing that they make a lot of their profit on drinks and desserts which people are also far less likely to get in the same quantities at lunch as they are at dinner.

    1. Our local Outbacks (Richmond, VA) have recently started serving lunch. Not sure if it's due to a decline in dinner business or what.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Janet from Richmond

        The Outback on my side of town, near Woodlake, has a decent crowd for lunch.

      2. some places have started serving lunch on sundays and i think thats because they saw the increase when they were opened on holidays.

        but like ccbweb said it isn't a quick place to grab a bit to eat for lunch.

        1. Do they serve lunch at their outlets in Australia?

          9 Replies
          1. re: Scrapironchef

            It's not a chain from Australia. It was started in Florida.

            1. re: rweater

              What? You mean all that Aussie stuff is just marketing hype?

              1. re: Scrapironchef

                Of course it is just hype. Here's a blurb from their website:
                OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC, headquartered in Tampa, Florida was founded in 1988 by those who believe in hospitality, sharing, quality, being courageous and having fun! OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC is a company of restaurants that owns and operates Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Roy's Restaurant, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Lee Roy Selmon's, Cheeseburger in Paradise and Blue Coral Seafood & Spirits.

                They are as Australian as Haagen-Dazs is Scandinavian (which started in the Bronx in 1959). It's called Foreign Branding.

                1. re: bnemes3343

                  Google "Outback Restaurant Austrailia". There is a chain there. The menu uses the same/similar wording and names of items and the look of the site is close to the same as the US site.

                  The OSI LLCmay just be the American owners for tax purposes.

                  1. re: Cathy

                    The Outback Steakhouse web site (outback.com) says they operate restaurants in 20 countries (including Australia). The Outback Steakhouse Australia is one and the same.

                2. re: Scrapironchef

                  I think perhaps a sarcasm detector is broken somewhere.

                  1. re: Scrapironchef

                    Say it isn't so!! Oak Ridge, TN has been serving lunch for quite a while.

                3. re: Scrapironchef

                  Actually, they are in Australia. Open for dinner only Mon - Sat with Lunch on Sunday

                  1. re: bnemes3343

                    I know they have locations in Australia. I was pointing out that the chain does not originate in Australia just for clarification.

                4. I think more are offering lunch, actually. I'm from Tampa where the chain started, and originally only the first restaurant offered lunch. Now 3 in the area offer lunch and others offer Sunday lunch as well.

                  1. There are 3 in Tulsa, OK, and they open at noon on Sunday, and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

                    1. i was browsing and found your question, and much to my surprise, most of these replies are untrue. I have worked for outback steakhouse for a little over two years now. The main reason why they do not open for lunch is because every store has an incredible amount of prep work to be done everyday, including, peeling, cleaning & prepping shrimp, making ALL of our salad dressings, croutons, soups, sauces, chocolate sauce, even the whipped cream, Fresh. All of these things are prepared almost daily at all of the stores. Morning prep cooks come in at 8 or 9 am, and most of the stores do not open for business until 4pm on the weekdays. Also, another TRUE tidbit for you, the original 4 founders of outback wanted to be able to play golf in the daytime and still run a business in the evening. The first store in Florida did not open until 4 pm. Hope you find this interesting and helpful!!!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: leahgirl8304

                        That is impressive for a chain restaurant. I would have just assumed all these things were shipped to the stores from their distributors, not house made.

                        1. re: FlowerMoundGirl

                          I used to work at a different Outback concept a few years ago and I can attest to the in house creation of most foods. We even smoked our own meats on premises.

                        2. re: leahgirl8304

                          How did they manage to play golf all day if they were preparing chocolate sauce fresh almost daily starting at 8 or 9 am?

                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                            The best part was getting to work at the Outback Golf events.

                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                              With the original location being in central Florida, they probably had a lot of 7:00am or earlier tee times in an attempt to be off the course before the worst of the heat settled in for the day.

                              In terms of chain restuarants, OSI generally does a surprising amount of prep work on site with all their brands. I remember talking with a server at Bonefish Grill about how an appetizer was unavailable that evening because they had to start making it by 10:00am in order to get it to work right, but some vital component of the dish hadn't gotten delivered until afternoon that day.

                              1. re: beachmouse

                                Well, my actual intent was to point out the curious coincidence where a whole lot of that apparently personal comment was taken directly off the outback corporate website.

                                In the case of your appetizer, it could have been the sloop delivering the cacao beans from Mali was hung up in a storm off Barbados or something?

                          2. OH YEAH and as for the australian theme, thats all it is, a theme. The menu at every Outback is CAJUN based...when outback opened its first store in 1987, Crocodile Dundee was very popular at the time, i think that had alot to do with why the founders went with the australian theme.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: leahgirl8304

                              Yes it is just standard American fare, the last time I was there I almost broke my teeth on their shoe leather steak. Never again.

                            2. The ones on Oahu all open around 4 (depending on the day of the week and location) none are ever open before 3, none later than 5.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                Maui location has a great happy hour..
                                King Crab legs, Ahi, salad, bottle of wine and dessert/coffee under $50 for two!

                              2. cooking a lot of things from scratch is no excuse for not serving lunch. Lots of restaurants across the country cook from scratch and are open for lunch and dinner, if not also breakfast.

                                3 Replies
                                  1. re: FlowerMoundGirl

                                    The thing I don't understand about Outbacks like any other restaurant there used to be ketchup bottles at the bar which are now gone because as I was told "You have to ask for ketchup" and they bring you your ketchup in a little cup for your to use. Anything beyond that is an extra charge. That's crazy! I've never heard of such a thing. Every other resturant in my area has the usual plastic bottles of Heinz ketchup for you to use so why is Outbacks special? BTW this Outbacks is the one in Brick, NJ. Don't know if the one's by you do this as policy as well but it's worth asking.

                                    1. re: burgerhound7

                                      I'd take a cup of ketchup over a bottle that's probably been filled and refilled time and time again any day. God only knows what lurks in there.

                                1. Times vary according to local markets. Here in NJ, I can have lunch at an Outback in Edgewater on Saturday or Sunday, but not otherwise. Further out in Parsippany, office workers can enjoy lunch but not weekend shoppers, unless they are late lunchers. Even further out, in Ledgewood, only dinner weekdays, but open from a late lunchtime weekends.

                                  If I'm going out to the movies with a friend who lives close to Edgewater, we can have their "Cut Lunches" (sandwiches) right after. They do make a good (and reasonably priced) burger.

                                  Back home, between Parsippany and Ledgewood, I can only enjoy Outback at dinner. That's just the way it is 'round here.

                                  I'd direct the question to your local's manager.