Outback celebrates its 25th birthday in Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

Outback celebrates its 25th birthday in Tampa

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The local gone international restaurant chain celebrates its 25th anniversary Tuesday. The first Outback steakhouse location opened its doors on Henderson Boulevard in Tampa March 12 in 1988.

What started as one restaurant grew into an international chain with 600 restaurants in 47 states and 18 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.

Australian theme and friendly laid-back atmosphere are a part of the business model that has proved successful. Another important ingredient is the staff. Founders Chris Sullivan and Bob Basham said, from the beginning managers were offered a stake in the business, an ownership buy in and a five year employment contract.

"We've had people in single restaurants for over 20 years - they've signed four - five year contracts," said Basham.

And patrons still pack the place looking for menu favorites like Bloomin Onions and Thunder from Down Under.

Basham and Sullivan are founding partners in the company Bloomin Brands Inc. that started a few other restaurant chains including Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Roy's.

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