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Outback Steakhouse wins major customer satisfaction award — but who cares?

Tampa-based steak giant wants you to know it knows you don't care if it won a big award.

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  • | 4:15 p.m. November 15, 2023
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A Bloomin' Onion from Outback Steakhouse, which Outback promises to give for free if certain social media hashtags are used.
A Bloomin' Onion from Outback Steakhouse, which Outback promises to give for free if certain social media hashtags are used.
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Outback Steakhouse says it ranked No. 1 in the 2023 American Customer Satisfaction Index survey for overall satisfaction, menu variety, and food and beverage quality.

The Australian American restaurant and steak giant, part of Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands, is using its award as the basis for a quirky, reverse-psychology marketing campaign that could be headlined: who cares? 

That's actually the first line of a press release: "Admit it: You don't care that Outback Steakhouse ranked #1."

Thus, the company says, bribes will be offered if you pretend to care about a relatively obscure restaurant index and award system. The company adds that because it understands people "might need a little more motivation to reach the same level of excitement that it feels" it is "bribing people with a free Bloomin' Onion to pretend they care as much as they do."

"We don't care that you don't care about that we won an award for caring about you — we still care anyway," says Brett Patterson, president of Outback Steakhouse in the release "But, just so you understand, the ACSI Survey is a huge recognition in our industry and demonstrates our dedication to customer satisfaction, hospitality and menu innovation. It's a big deal for us. And an even better deal for you, if you pretend to care."

So Outbcak is asking people to post a congratulatory message on social media, tagging the Outback Steakhouse account and using the hashtag "#SoProudOfOutback." Any time between Nov. 13 through Nov. 22, guests can show their post via phones to their server to redeem a free Bloomin' Onion. Messages can take any form. (And if you don't like onions, you are out of luck on this particular promotion.)

"So long as you pretend to care about this incredible recognition," the steakhouse says.

"In case you do actually care, Outback Steakhouse recently moved into the top spot for full-service restaurant after surging 8% to an ACSI score of 83," Outback officials say. "The rollout of handheld ordering tablets and new ovens and grills played a key role in improvements in order accuracy, food quality and food menu variety."

The first Outback Steakhouse was founded in late 1987 along Henderson Boulevard in Tampa. Since then, that one steakhouse has grown into a diverse array of 1,450 restaurants. Bloomin' also owns Bonefish Grill; Carrabba's Italian Grill; Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar; and Aussie Grill. Bloomin' posted $4.41 billion in revenue in 2022. 


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