Friday, August 1, 2014

Outback Steakhouse Not "Just Right" for Buckhead

Chain steakhouse to close.

Tampa, Florida-based Outback Steakhouse, part of multi-concept restaurant operator Bloomin' Brands, Inc. plans to close its restaurant on Roswell Road in Buckhead August 10th.  The restaurant is located in a Roswell Road facing endcap within Buckhead Court, just north of Powers Ferry Square.  (Both centers are owned and managed by Jacksonville, Florida-based Regency Centers)

I first heard talk of this planned closure in February, but up until now it was just talk.  The restaurant has confirmed that they are opting not to renew their lease and are closing. Well placed sources say that this specific Outback location has struggled for years and never really lived up to corporate expectations.  The restaurant has been in business for about 20 years, opening around 1994.  Outback Steakhouse as a company started in Tampa in 1988.  

Casual, mid scale restaurants have struggled more than any other dining segment.  Diners either trade down to fast casual offerings like Panera and Smashburger or trade up to higher end, full service offerings such as Bone's or Chops.   The Outbacks, Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters, Bennigans and Chilis of the world, among others, are all fighting for survival in a changing world.  

Well placed retail sources say that Regency is looking for a "chef-driven" restaurant to replace Outback.  Earlier this year, Regency replaced a shuttered Dunkin' Donuts at Powers Ferry Square with a bartaco.  

What would you like to see open in place of Outback?  Were you, like many, amazed it lasted as long as it has?  Are you only now finding out there was an Outback Steakhouse in Buckhead?  

Please share your thoughts below.  

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. On a somewhat related point, do you have any updates on what's happening with the Longhorn that burnt on North Druid Hills?

Anonymous said...

I think I would add as a qualifier that in general the mid range dining is doing quite well- Bennigans was a victim of vulture capitalism- and red lobster is a hot mess- but outbacks do well in suburban and smaller markets where the rents aren't so high. They have much lower margins than say a Ruth's Chris , or capital grill, and so can't really afford the rent levels inside big city markets. That's my two cents.

Theron Sapp said...

I too wonder if the rent had reached a point the Outback menu couldn't support. There were rarely lines out the door, but it seemed reasonably steady. On our few visits, the staff was always pleasant - wishing the best for them.

Living nearby, I hope "chef-driven" doesn't mean $100 a person. North Buckhead is a huge family neighborhood with too few reasonably priced dining choices.

Anonymous said...

I always heard good things about this Outback. Personally I would much rather go to a Longhorn or Outback instead of a high end place. Don't think the high end steakhouses are worth the money. Really miss the Toco Hill Longhorn

Anonymous said...

This is sad. Always enjoyed dining there and never had a bad experience.

I agree with above... Steak is steak. While Bones and Hals might serve Allen Bros. dry aged yada yada... Bottom line is.. Its steak.

Outback has never done a good job marketing/advertising. They should do more direct mail/coupon stuff to drive traffic.

Anonymous said...

I remember Confetti Nightclub being next to that shopping center in late 1980s because I spent some Saturday Nights there. Goodwill Store is where Confetti was

Anonymous said...

Not sure I agree with the "steak is a steak" argument. If so, I suppose you get your steaks from Waffle House and your pizza from Little Caesars. I'd rather go to Capital Grille once than to Longhorn five times (same owners, but very different food!)

Anonymous said...

So... Steak is not steak?

Certainly there are different cuts and grades but.. Its just steak. The big differentiation is where the meat is from and how the cow was fed. Bit in the end... Its just cow meat whether it cost $6.99 or $42.00. I prefer a nice middle of the road steak cooked in my grill at my house... For about $10.

Anonymous said...

OK, " Steak is Steak"...please move OTP...LOL you're makin' Buckhead look bad...,lol
Shhhhh...Don't speak and ruin this moment with your words...LOL!

P.S. Really going to miss Outback, walking distance and friendly staff.

Anonymous said...

The yelp review site says the Toco Hills Longhorn is scheduled to reopen on September 30. (It's hard to see how it could possibly be that soon - something for Atlantan99 to investigate.)

Anonymous said...

Only place you can get consistent good food and service and a decent price. Buckhead sucks now anyway.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about Outback Steakhouse Buckhead's demise. When my wife and I lived in Midtown, we used to hit this place up about 5-6 times a year for a weekend night out. Good food, great staff and family-friendly.

Admittedly, they weren't packing it in most of the time. I now live near the Outback in Roswell, and that place seems to get a great deal more traffic than Buckhead ever did. It helps that the Roswell location is right off 92 with major signage, while you can easily miss the Buckhead location (it's essentially in the middle of a non-descript shopping center, and the signage isn't the greatest).

Anonymous said...

That Outback Steakhouse is in a terrible location. You can barely even see the shopping center from the street. I have never once had to go in that shopping center for anything. Perhaps things just get to a point where there are too many shopping centers in Buckhead and too many choices, and only the restaurants that are more prominently located will survive.

Anonymous said...

I never trust an article like this that doesn't site the source.

Outback Insider said...

You might want to do some more research. Outback did not decide to close. They shopping center did not renew their lease because they want something "high-end" in there. Outback is now looking to build a new restaurant somewhere near the Atlanta area. As for it not doing well - it always turned a profit and rated well with customer surveys.

Anonymous said...

Sad that Outback is gone. Although possibly underperforming compared with other Outback stores, it fit in well with the family friendly area in which it was located. I doubt whether another restaurant will have the staying power that Outback did considering the performance of other stores in the Center.

Still missing the old Red, Hot, and Blues.