Bloomin' Brands' (NASDAQ:BLMN) business is beginning to return as diners head back to its Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill chains. But its upscale Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Steakhouse brands continue to struggle as consumers seemingly prefer the dine-in experience to takeout at fine food locations.

Not too many shrimp on the barbie

The restaurant operator said as of June 7 it had reopened 760 restaurants in the U.S., double the number it had open a month ago, and most of which were Outback Steakhouses.

Outback Steakhouse restaurant

Image source: Bloomin' Brands.

Comparable restaurant sales for dining in across all of the concepts improved from negative 29.8% to negative 17.7%, even as average weekly sales volumes fell from $58,742 to $50,754. Comps at restaurants that offered only carryout actually worsened, falling from negative 48% to negative 51.1%. The number of restaurants offering just carryout, though, declined by more than half as more allowed dining in.

Carrabba's Italian Grill, though, saw the greatest improvement as the number of dine-in restaurants swelled from 92 to 153 locations and comps went from negative 30% to negative 13.3%.

Outback Steakhouse also gained, with comps improving to negative 13.6% from negative 22.2%, yet as the chain represents the largest revenue contribution to Bloomin' Brands, accounting for 59% of the total, its improvement bodes well for the restaurant operator's rebound when the coronavirus pandemic passes.

Bloomin's high-end chains Bonefish Grill and Fleming's saw combined comps at both dine-in and takeout restaurants improve, but at negative 40% or more at each concept, they remain depressed. 

Bloomin' Brands stock fell more than 6% in morning trading as the broader market declined on fears that a second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks could lead to another ruinous round of lockdowns.

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