Outback Steakhouse fans make ready
Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Jun 29, 2013
Fans of the Bloomin’ Onion, the No Rules Parmesan Pasta, coconut shrimp, wings, cheese fries, and grilled shrimp on the Barbie, start your car engines because the dry stores and coolers are stocked and next week for the second time around, Outback Steakhouse, the popular Aussie style restaurant, will open its doors to the Bahamian public.
But this time the franchise is here to stay, according to Managing Partner Trevor Williams.
It’s a revamped product that’s more polished under new ownership. The franchise restaurant is being operated by Island Bloom Ltd. a company for which the principal is Chris Mortimer. Returning with old favorites to new menu items and the introduction of curbside dining at a new location in the old Bennigan’s restaurant building at the Mall at Marathon, the return of Outback Steakhouse is highly anticipated.
The food, which people know will be good, will be priced mid-range, making it affordable, but still a good value.
It’s the location of Outback Steakhouse that’s a dream come true for Williams. At the old location the restaurant had parking and security issues and was not able to execute curbside dining. At its new location they have adequate parking, security with a police station nearby and closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras everywhere. And they can execute curbside to go dining.
“I’m excited about the new location,” said Williams.
“At the old location even though we had all those issues with takeout, it was still 10 percent of our business. With us being able to offer curbside takeaway, whereas we would take the order to the persons car when they pull up in a designated area, it’s an opportunity for us to take takeout from where it was 10 to 15 percent to 20 to 30 percent of the business.
“The customer calls in to our dedicated curbside dining lines, their order and the information on their car is taken. The customer will be quoted a time to pick up their order, once they pull up in the designated area, for which there are 10 slots dedicated to curbside, the car is identified by the server who comes out to quote the bill and they will bring your food out to you. The customer never has to leave their car.”
The new Outback Steakhouse will also be offering lunch, something they did not do in the past. The menu has been designed to give people value during lunch with prices as low as $8.99 and their aim is to get patrons in and out in half-hour to 45 minutes. According to Williams the new Outback Steakhouse is built to accommodate the customer volume they anticipate.
And the restaurant is returning with Bahamian favorites as well as new items as the menu has evolved in the period the franchise was out of the country.
“We’ve been in the market and have access to information as far as what we sold a lot of, so we’re able to bring back those Bahamian favorites,” said Williams. “I was meticulous in going through what we offered before, versus what we’re offering now in term of what was the market. And we made certain to stay mid-range where people could understand that we’re affordable but still a good value,” he said.
With its return comes some new menu items that Williams anticipates the market being receptive to such as the crab and avocado stacker; seared ahi tuna served sashimi-style and some reinvented old favorites like the Alice Springs chicken in the form of a quesadilla, so the customer gets the familiar flavors, delivered with a new flair.
With the restaurant’s return, Williams said they are also cognizant of people who eat gluten free and are vegetarians and are sensitive to them.
To prepare the Bahamian team, a 21-member United States support team came to The Bahamas for a two-week period to help the team through the opening transition. Williams himself who worked at the former Outback Steakhouse recently did a three-month refresher in preparation for the opening.
Outback Steakhouse will be able to accommodate 267 persons at capacity between its indoor and outdoor dining terrace. It also has a comfortable waiting area.
“We recognized from the old location that we had people spilling out onto the sidewalk so we made a nice, comfortable terrace area, where people can sit down and relax to wait. And there’s always a nice breeze and we have ceiling fans,” he said.
Menu prices will range from as low as $5.99 to $40 for the porterhouse steak for those people that would like to splurge.
Outback Steakhouse hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 12 midnight on the weekends.