Outback Steakhouse is offering free delivery services in select locations. Not to be outdone by Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG 0.74%) in these coronavirus-burdened times, whose free delivery offer expires at the end of March, Outback's deal will run through the months of March and April.

Deal details

Outback's delivery charges will be waived through the end of April. The offer applies to Outback's own delivery operations and is not applicable to third-party delivery services like Grub hub, Doordash, or Uber Eats. Tipping the driver is still appreciated.

The free delivery deal does not appear to apply to other restaurant brands under the Bloomin' Brands (BLMN 2.90%) umbrella, like Bonefish Grill or Carrabba's Italian Grill. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse is mentioned in the offer with its own set of higher minimum purchase requirements, but that might just be some leftover boilerplate text.

All of Bloomin' Brands' restaurants have closed their sit-down locations. Most of them remain open for take-out orders and deliveries.

Delivery man holding a large insulated bag rings a doorbell.

Image source: Getty Images.

Accelerating a market trend

The restaurant industry has been leaning into online ordering and home delivery ideas for a few years already, but this virus containment effort is taking that trend to a whole new level.

Other restaurant chains will probably launch free delivery deals over the coming weeks, jousting for market share in a dramatically different landscape for consumer services. The whole ordeal will serve as a litmus test for home delivery of restaurant meals in general. Lessons learned here will form the basis for delivery policies in the years ahead.