Bloomin’s confidence in pent-up customer demand comes from Outback’s successful relocation program. In the past five years, the company relocated roughly 50 restaurants and saw sales lifts of more than 35 percent and AUV of $4.6 million. The brand plans to relocate 100 more in the coming years.
Overall, the company’s same-store sales grew 14 percent in Q1 year-over-year, including a 5.6 percent increase in pricing, a 6.9 percent rise in mix, and a 1.5 percent lift in traffic. The growth in traffic came despite a 300-basis-point impact from Omicron and unfavorable weather. The improvement in mix was fueled by two factors—customers trading up to higher-priced menu items and adding on appetizers and alcohol, and growth of in-restaurant dining, which carries a higher average check.
Q1 off-premises mixed 26 percent, which is flat compared to Q4 and more than double pre-pandemic levels. Third-party delivery accounted for 12 percent, up slightly from 11 percent in the fourth quarter. Nearly 80 percent of off-premises sales in Q1 were digital, driven by a recently implemented online ordering system and mobile app, which has more than 1.8 million downloads.
Here’s how the comps break out by brand:
- Outback: 9.2 percent
- Carrabba’s: 11.5 percent
- Bonefish Grill: 21.3 percent
- Fleming’s: 45.7 percent
- Outback: 35.9 percent
With sales increases across the board, Bloomin’ sees growth opportunities beyond just Outback. The 64-unit Fleming’s has room for 15 more locations in core markets California, Texas, and Florida. Recently opened units are earning $6 million in AUV, and the company said the steakhouse’s profit is among the highest in its portfolio. As Bloomin’ approach new stores, it will also look to boost Fleming’s sales by refreshing existing restaurants, such as expanding the bar areas and modernizing the interior.
There’s potential outside the U.S. borders, too, with Outback’s footprint in Brazil. Bloomin’ decided in 2013 to acquire a majority stake in its Brazil operations. From 1997 to 2013, the business grew to 47 stores, and in the eight and a half years since that deal, 76 more have opened.
When Bloomin’ purchased its share, the idea was to reach 100 units in Brazil, Deno said. The company now believes the country is capable of handing 240.
“That has to do with the economics of the business, the growth of the country, the innovations we’re making in how we build the box,” Deno said.
Commodity inflation was up 15 percent in Q1 and labor inflation grew 10 percent. The chain expects both areas to be higher in the first half of 2022 and ease in the latter portion of the year.
Bloomin’ brought in $1.1 billion in revenue in the first quarter, up 15.5 percent year-over-year. The chain expects Q2 revenue to be between $1.1 billion and $1.13 billion.
The company projects 2022 revenue to be between $4.35 billion and $4.4 billion, up from prior guidance of $4.3 billion to $4.35 billion. The shift is a reflection of strong Q1 sales and traffic benefits from additional marketing investments.