Brand Revival: Outback Steakhouse

We were the first group ever to grill steak during a presentation at Brandcenter and were asked by our professor, Kelly O’Keefe, and CBM alum, Daniel Riddick, to re-present to an undergraduate class at VCU.


the ask:

Reinvigorate Outback Steakhouse to provide the memorable and engaging experience its customers crave.


Casual dining restaurant chains are facing a loss of identity that once set them apart in the overall dining category. Despite menu innovation and value promotions, consumers opt for more unique and authentic experiences when dining out with others. Consumers, in general, view these casual dining chains as boring and outdated places that serve mediocre food with poor service to match and, consequently, over 800 chain locations closed their doors in 2018.

Our findings:

While the overall casual dining chain landscape is suffering, Outback Steakhouse remains a beloved restaurant chain. Across the board customers love the food, the service and prices, however, view the atmosphere as “dingy and dirty” and the Australian theme as “tacky.”

In reality, Outback Steakhouse is based on and leans heavily into Australian stereotypes and does not reflect the true Australian way of life. In comparison to Americans, Australians are more laid-back, open and direct, more conversational and friendlier in a dining setting, enjoy a wide array of outdoor activities and believe that food brings people together. Americans, on the other hand, are constantly stressed, constantly working and constantly on the move taking little time to sit back and relax.

our strategy:

Outback is a place to appreciate the small moments.

our solution:

We gave Outback Steakhouse a major makeover. Each location is no longer called “Outback Steakhouse” but rather “Outback. The Australian Way.” We reformatted the layout and redesigned the interior and exterior spaces to mirror the feel of a backyard barbecue party. Customers who enter the new Outback locations are greeted with outdoor games and picnic-style seating and bonfires where customers can write their worries and stressors on a piece of paper and watch them burn away. The interior features a new focal point of a large grill where customers can see their food being prepared, a refreshed and updated menu with a wider variety of customizable options for all and a “take-away store” for those who wish to order their food to go or buy prepackaged food and drink products or Outback swag. In every aspect of each updated location, the new and improved Outback is a laid-back restaurant for friends and family that captures the true Australian spirit.

*During the presentation, our group brought in a grill and set up the room to mirror a backyard barbecue party. While we presented, we drank (root)beer and grilled steak 😊


TEAM MEMBERS: Ari Abad (ST), Kelley Bode (CW), Zach Brown (CBM), Imani Lee (ST), Rachel Street (CBM), Rachel Zhou (XD)