Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill owner says restaurant sales exceed pre-pandemic levels and workers easy to find


  • Bloomin ‘Brands CEO David Deno told CNBC restaurant sales were 12.6% above 2019 levels.
  • He said the company has taken advantage of the delivery option and reopened dining rooms to boost sales.
  • He also said that manpower has not been a problem for the company, despite a labor shortage in the industry.

Business is booming for Bloomin ‘Brands, owner of restaurant chains like Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill.

David Deno, CEO of the company, told CNBC on Thursday evening that sales exceeded 2019 levels by 12.6% so far in the second quarter, and finding workers has been easy despite outcry from many from the service industry about a labor shortage.

Deno saw sales growth with customers returning to restaurants and continuing to use the take-out and delivery options enhanced by the pandemic.

Deno told CNBC’s “The Exchange” that he hoped to get the “magic” of the two dining rooms reopened with “great service” as well as continuous deliveries and deliveries to increase sales.

The growth is a turnaround for the company, which was placed last year on a list of companies likely to default on their debt amid the pandemic. At the time, a representative told Insider that the company was in strong financial health, driven by positive cash flow in its deferral business.

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Regarding the workforce, the CEO said the company did not put on leave or lay off its restaurant workers last year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. “So when we turned the dining rooms back on and people came back, we already had staff,” Deno said on CNBC.

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Much of the service industry has raised alarms about a shortage of manpower and an inability to return to normal service levels because of it. Some chains have had to reduce opening hours or keep dining rooms closed to account for the lack of workers.

Others have launched hiring campaigns and offered incentives to candidates.

Although millions of people are still unemployed because of the pandemic, experts believe low wages and stimulus funding could be two of the reasons people are not returning to work.

For Bloomin ‘Brands, however, Deno said the company has a high retention level and low revenue compared to the rest of the industry.

“People want to see two things. First, they ask what they are going to be paid, see what they are going to be paid. And… they want to work in a great environment, and we think we are able to offer the two, so we were able to recruit the people we need, ”he told CNBC.

A Bloomin ‘Brands spokesperson told Insider the company “is constantly hiring and now needs to hire more people due to increased sales compared to 2019.”


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