Nothing Says Romance Quite Like an Evening at Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse has many ways to attract potential diners. There are the heady temptations of the gigantic Bloomin’ Onion and the intrigue of Chocolate Thunder From Down Under (a dessert, in case you were wondering), not to mention the allure of the Australian accent and all that red meat. But romance? It’s not the first place that comes to my mind.

Hey, maybe that’s just me.
Outback Steakhouse latest marketing gambit showcases the restaurant as a romantic destination. The chain will be offering a a special date-night menu on Thursdays through Sundays, an offer starting tomorrow and ending Nov. 16. You get a Bloomin’ Onion and a cheesecake to share (preferably Lady and the Tramp style), along with a choice of two steaks and salad, for roughly $40. Select bottles of wine will be $10 cheaper for daters, because only suckers pay full-price for love.

Many restaurants have been promoting value as consumers continue to watch their spending. Parent company Bloomin’ Brands, which also owns Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming’s, has managed to lure back customers as the rest of the casual-dining market has suffered continuing traffic declines for the past five years. Bloomin’ Brands has increased its market share since 2009, according to data from Bloomberg Intelligence, with an expanded lunch business helping sales and traffic outpace industry trends.

The problem for Outback has been weak sales during dinner, which is a more profitable meal than lunch. Could date night be the cure?

To find out, Outback commissioned a survey of 1,000 adults for what it calls the 2014 New American Romance Study. More than half of respondents said they need at least one date night per month to keep the spark alive, but 56 percent couldn’t remember the last time they had one. So that at least appears to be a lot of potential diners whose dating needs aren’t being met.

Outback’s hoping a well-priced, hearty steak dinner might just be the excuse they need to overcome excuses like having to work, being too busy, and being too tired. It’s going after these diners in other ways too: Remember, the chain has already staked a claim to lovers (or is it the lovelorn?) on Valentines Day.

Ever play loves me, loves me not with a Bloomin’ Onion? #ValentinesDay

A photo posted by Outback Steakhouse (@outbacksteakhouse) on

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