Bloomin's U.S. same-store sales decreased 0.4 percent in Q2 year-over-year, but rose 27.6 percent against 2019. Average check grew 7.9 percent compared to 2021 and menu mix was 2.1 percent.
For Outback specifically, domestic comps dropped 1.1 percent, but rose 10.1 percent versus three years ago. The steakhouse earned $77,941 in average weekly sales per restaurant ($4 million annualized AUV), versus $69,497 in 2019 ($3.6 million annualized AUV).
The company saw positive trends through May, but sales softened June. In July, Bloomin' saw sequential improvement month-over-month.
Deno said that so far, the brand isn't seeing consumers managing their spending habits.
"In fact, in some of our brands, we're seeing continued trade up, and so that's been really strong for us," the CEO said. "And so that's one of the reasons why we want to continue to invest behind the marketing and talk about our value and some of the other things we can trade up to in our business that we're seeing. So the consumer, for us, is hanging in there."
Blooomin' earned $1.13 billion in Q2 revenue, a 4.4 percent increase year-over-year, fueled by a $58 million rise in international restaurant sales. The company raised its 2022 revenue guidance to $4.4 billion to $4.45 billion, up from $4.35 billion to $4.4 billion. The bump is driven by higher-than-expected U.S. and international revenues in the first half of 2022, a planned increase in marketing investment in the final six months of the year, and incremental pricing.
Deno said Bloomin's marketing will be heavily digital, and won't include deep discounting.
"If you look at just our menu offerings at Outback in particular, the combos that we have and some of the other values that we have are very compelling, especially when you line them up with other players in the industry, and we're going to talk about that," the CEO said. "And the thing that we have about marketing is, we've learned so much on digital we can have tremendous flexibility. We can toggle it up or down depending on the returns that we're seeing."
In terms of development, Outback—which has 693 U.S. restaurants—is continuing to pursue new trade areas and fill-in opportunities with its smaller, less expensive prototype. The steakhouse is on track to open 16 new stores this year. There are 135 units in Brazil, but Bloomin' feels there's room for 240. Carrabba's is looking to expand in key markets, as well.
Despite difficult conditions, Deno still expects Bloomin' to achieve 2-3 percent net unit growth in the years ahead.
"In my career, some of the best moves that we made in companies I've been involved is when the economy is a little tough," Deno said. "You can really make headwind on sites, maybe saving some cost, etc. ... I can tell you looking at the pipeline that our real estate team is developing, especially at Outback, we're seeing some really great sites in the right trade areas, in the right parts of the country with really good returns, and that pipeline is growing."