Popular Casual Dining Restaurant Chain Closing Dozens Of Stores Nationwide

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As fewer people are patronizing stores and chain restaurants, more and more of them are choosing to shutter locations as a cost-saving measure. Sears, Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid are among the stores to do it, while Pizza Hut, Boston Market, TGI Fridays and Popeyes are eateries that have as well. Now, another restaurant chain will follow suit. Bloomin' Brands, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse and other casual restaurant brands, plans to close 41 locations that have been underperforming.

On a call with analysts last week, CEO Dave Deno explained that the closures will affect older restaurants with leases dating back to the 1990s and 2000s. It won't just be Outback Steakhouses though, it will also be Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime and Aussie Grill locations. Deno stated, "This decision considered a variety of factors, including sales and traffic, trade areas and the investments that would have to be made to improve the restaurants."

The closures will cost the company $100 million in revenue, but it isn't stopping them from growing. They plan to offset the shutdowns by opening as many as 45 new restaurants this year, with 15 to 18 new Outbacks. They'll also be remodeling existing restaurants with the hope that new and remodeled locations will bring in more customers. Per Deno, "There's nothing like a new Outback or two in a city to attract people and say, 'Wow, look at that.'" They'll also be spending more on marketing to raise their profile.

As for which restaurants will be closing, that hasn't been announced yet but many employees of the locations set to shut down will be offered positions elsewhere.

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