Yesterday, the new CEO and COO at Outback Steakhouse
I can't resist giving you a few of the highlights that I picked up. But first I should mention that the new guys aren't really all that new. Bill Allen and Paul Avery have been a part of the Outback family for quite some time and are replacing a couple of the founders. Although the founders have decided to step aside, it's worth noting that they still own a large chunk of the company, so putting Allen and Avery in place is a strong vote of confidence in what they bring to the table.
The majority of the call covered the economics of the various restaurant concepts and the company's portfolio strategy going forward. Performing well are Outback, Carrabba's, Bonefish, and Fleming's. The concepts that are in need of a bit of work are Roy's, Paul Lee's Chinese Kitchen, and Cheeseburger in Paradise. Based on the call, it's fair to expect that the concepts that are performing well will continue on a brisk growth pace while the company refines the other concepts and gets comfortable with their unit-level performance before moving forward.
Allen and Avery also talk about possible marketing changes in the works for the namesake Outback restaurants, along with a new format that will help to contain the rising real estate costs the company has experienced in the last few years. Both are positives, as is the very strong performance of Outback in South Korea. As someone who's eaten at a handful of Outbacks in Japan and one in Germany, I can testify to a mixed international experience, which I attribute primarily to menu changes and in one case, a poor location (since closed), so I was glad to hear that South Korea is doing so well.
Outback -- along with competitors Lone Star Steakhouse
If you'd like to chew on some more Outback-related Foolishness, check out:
Nathan Parmelee has a beneficial interest in shares of Lone Star Steakhouse, but has no financial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. You can view his profile here. The Motley Fool has an iron-clad disclosure policy.