Think about Outback Steakhouse for a moment, and a few bizarre things will probably pop into your head. For one, you might think of shrimp on the barbie, their delicious pumpernickel bread, and of course, big juicy steaks. Well, we are going to get your mouth watering with our list of 10 Outback Steakhouse Facts That’ll Probably Shock You. For instance, you won’t believe where this restaurant chain actually originated. Big hint: it was not in Australia. While there are a few Outback Steakhouse restaurants in Australia (seven, to be exact,) the restaurant is much more popular in other parts of the world, especially the United States. Blending American cuisine and Australian charm, the restaurant was the brainchild of four dining enthusiasts who wanted to take advantage of the growing interest in the Aussie lifestyle. Now we have Outback Steakhouse, for better or for worse.
Aside from the signature steaks and the Bloomin’ Onion, Outback Steakhouse offers a variety of dishes, which change depending on which country or region the restaurant is located in. If you go to Outback Steakhouse in Malaysia, you won’t find any pork on the menu. If you go to the western United States, expect crab legs and lobster. Down south, you’ll find more Creole influence, such as crawdads and comforting soul food. Wherever you go, you are bound to find that crown jewel of Outback: the Bloomin’ Onion. Besides being an absolutely eyesore to real Australians, the Bloomin’ Onion appetizer is a deep-fried heart attack on a plate, but that hasn’t stopped droves of people from chowing down on it.
10 It’s Nowhere Near Australian
If you haven’t seen the hilarious BuzzFeed video of real Australians eating food from Outback Steakhouse for the first time, then you need to give it a view. The Aussies in the video have no idea what they’re eating, because the food at Outback Steakhouse does not, in fact, have anything to do with the real Australian Outback. Sure, there is barbecued shrimp and ribs and of course, steak…but the bloomin’ onion? What is that? Certainly an invention from Tampa, Florida rather than something you’ll find out in the brush down under. Looks like you’ll have to travel to taste real Australian food.
9 Outback Steakhouse is Seriously Worldwide
In fact, there are over 1,200 restaurant chains in 23 countries all around the world. Because who doesn’t love a big, juicy steak, even if it isn’t Australian? As a matter of fact, the restaurant was founded in Tampa, Florida in 1988 by four dudes who had never even been to the Outback, let alone anywhere on the continent of Australia. The guys were inspired after watching the film Crocodile Dundee, and seeing all of the hype about Australia and the Aussie accent. They hatched the idea for an Australian-themed restaurant featuring mediocre food and the rest is inaccurate history.
8 The Restaurant Had Rocky Beginnings
Outback Steakhouse prides itself on being the restaurant with “no rules,” which kind of makes sense when you consider that the chain’s founders appropriated a culture that they know absolutely nothing about. And while the founders thought that they would achieve success with a restaurant based off of the super-popular film Crocodile Dundee, Outback Steakhouse started off on rocky footing. At first, the restaurant’s employees had to beg friends and family members to eat there. It wasn’t until they embraced advertising and media that word started to spread about the Outback. Now most people can recognize an Outback Steakhouse commercial in an instant.
7 Outback Steakhouse is in the Club
The restaurant belongs to a group that also manages Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s, and Fleming’s Fine Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The main premise of Outback Steakhouse was that the owners wanted it to be a family-friendly dining establishment that people could go to (even on a weeknight) to get some great steak at an affordable price. Well, the mission was accomplished, although it is now a bit of a running gag that Outback Steakhouse is distinctly American, not Australian. According to the founders, they wanted the “fun” of Australia and the food of the United States. Does that make it okay?
6 It May be More Creole than Australian
So we know that Outback Steakhouse is very un-Australian, but the food roots of the restaurant do come from someplace. This place is in the south of the United States: New Orleans, where Creole food rules supreme. One of the founding members of the restaurant was working in New Orleans as a chef, and used some of his experience with the food there in the development of Outback’s menu. One of the crowning jewels? The Bloomin’ Onion, of course! Other Louisiana accents in the food can be seen (or rather, tasted) in the myriad of seasonings, as well as the deep-fried dishes, like coconut shrimp and fried seafood.
5 The Namesake Steak is a Treasured Recipe
Of course Outback Steakhouse serves up some delicious meat, even if the recipes are nowhere near what you would find down under. The signature steak of the restaurant is a wondrous blend of 17 different spices to create the ultimate steak flavor combination. Again, this recipe wasn’t even meant to be for Outback Steakhouse; rather, it was developed prior to the restaurant’s founding and was used by one of the co-founders, who was a cook in New Orleans. The steak recipe achieves the perfect balance of spice and meatiness, and makes for a steak that thousands of people gobble up each and every year.
4 The Bloomin’ Onion has Been Copied a Lot
Pretty much everyone knows about Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion; it is a deep-fried wonderland of spicy, piping hot onion strips. It is the most popular appetizer on the menu at the restaurant, and one that totally baffled real Aussies when they first saw it (although they liked the taste!) The Bloomin’ Onion became such as hit at Outback Steakhouse, that other restaurant chains took note and started to incorporate variations of it into their own menus. Just take Longhorn Steakhouse’s “Texas Rose” and Chili’s “Awesome Blossom.” Outback Steakhouse prides their Bloomin’ Onion on being made by “bloomologists.” That’s pretty serious.
3 It’s Seeking to Claim the Lunch Spot
Outback Steakhouse was originally intended to be a place for people to stop by and grab a bit to eat after a long day of work. After all, steaks and fried onions are things that are going to put you in a food coma shortly afterwards. Yet the restaurant chain is going for a change in the game plan by opting for a newer lunch menu, complete with certain combo meals at a much lower price than their dinner fare. Of course, time will tell if Outback Steakhouse has what it takes to break into the elusive success of the lunch rush business, but if they do, it could be a wonderful thing indeed.
2 There’s an Outback Bowl
You know the Super Bowl and the Wing Bowl? Well, there is also an Outback Bowl that is played every year on New Year’s Day in Tampa, Florida (where the restaurant was founded.) It started back in 1986 and it still going strong; in fact, partnerships with Outback Steakhouse’s football game is predicted to continue until at least 2020, so you have a few more years to travel to Florida to see it! The game takes place in Raymond James Stadium, and it’s the longest-running bowl sponsorship in history. Other great promotions from Outback Steakhouse include its 365 program, which offers discounts to members.
1 Outback Steakhouse Partnered with NASCAR
True to its American ideals, the restaurant is in a partnership with NASCAR, or more specifically, with NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick, whom Outback Steakhouse sponsors. The deal is that any time that Harvick places within the top 10 in a Sprint Cup Series race, consumers can head to Outback Steakhouse and receive a free Bloomin’ Onion. Not a bad deal, right? Of course, you need to be a NASCAR fan, and the offer only stands on the Monday after the race took place. Keep that in mind before you go into an Outback Steakhouse and demand a free Bloomin’ Onion!