Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill parent Bloomin' Brands (NASDAQ:BLMN) is seeing a small positive trend amid the novel coronavirus crisis. In an interview with Tampa Business Journal, the Tampa-based restaurant chain's CEO noted that the company was focusing on takeout and delivery operations anyhow.
Lessons learned from Pizza Hut
The virus crisis actually accelerated Bloomin's established focus on growing the takeout and delivery business. CEO David Deno reminded Tampa Business Journal that his seven years of executive-level experience at Yum! Brands prepared him for this type of situation.
"I was at Pizza Hut for many years, and we never could quite figure out why, but we were happy that other restaurants didn't offer delivery, but now customers realize that you can get more than just pizza delivered to your home," Deno said.
Off-premise sales have indeed surged in recent weeks. Total takeout and delivery sales across Bloomin's four restaurant brands jumped from a steady $28 million per week in early March to $74 million in the week that ended April 5. The off-premise sales worked out to approximately 15% of Outback's total revenue in the fourth quarter and 20% of Carrabba's total business, according to management comments from Bloomin's fourth-quarter earnings call.
Bloomin's staying power
The company has not laid off or furloughed any of its 90,000 employees. Same-store sales are falling in the currently ongoing first quarter, but a 10.4% year-over-year drop looks fairly reasonable given the drastically different operating environment.
Bloomin' is consuming roughly $9 million of cash per week at the moment, dipping into a $304 million stash of cash reserves. The company should be able to endure another seven to nine months of takeout-only sales at this rate.