Trip to Outback Headquarters in Tampa

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As an Outback Bestmate I was invited to visit their headquarters in Tampa, Florida. All expenses were paid, but all opinions are my own.

When I’d agreed to work with Outback I had no idea that a trip would be involved. What a thrilling opportunity and great chance to really learn about the company.

My Visit to the Outback Headquarters in Tampa

Historical marker sign of the Original Outback Steakhouse.

We had already been fans of Outback Steakhouse. It’s an excellent place for a relaxed atmosphere with quality food at affordable prices.

Learning about the founders while eating at the original location was beyond interesting.

Outback Appetizers - Bloomin' Onion, Aussie Fries, Quesadillas, and Wings.

Every appetizer available was ordered for our table. I don’t even have them all pictured because I was busy with my feeding frenzy.

I tend to stick with my favorites whenever we go to Outback. Now I have new favorites which include the wings (OMG) and breaded mushrooms!

Steak and baked potato at Outback Steakhouse.

For my dinner I chose the prime rib. Yet again, another Outback first for me. It was as delicious as I had expected as were the sides.

Field Guide.

During dinner we had the pleasure of chatting with Steve Greer, Senior Director of Outback Marketing Communications. He passed around his field guide which contained the principles and beliefs of an Outbacker.

People come first at Outback. They have their “no rules, just right” policy which stresses that the main goal is to please the customer.

You want Aussie Fries on top of your burger? Chances are they will make that happen for you. 😉

5 mini milkshakes from Outback Steakhouse.

As stuffed as I was after all of the delicious food, I managed to make room for a Mini Milkshake. I could have made room for the whole parade of them.

These scrumptious little shakes are packed with flavor and just enough to top off any good meal. There are five flavors to choose from and I shall make it my mission to try each one.

The Peanut Butter one was insanely yummy!

Outback Steakhouse door.

Upon exiting the building, it was brought to our attention once again that each Outback has an owner. Outbacks are not franchises, they are run by managing partners who have been invited to become responsible for a restaurant.

In several cases, this is a person who may have started off as a server or Bloom’-Onion-maker, and worked their way up to this position.

Once you are in the Outback family, the ladder is there to climb if you choose to do so!

Splitsville Bowling Alley.

After dinner we all went out for some bowling. This was such a great way to mingle with the other bloggers and fabulous ladies from Hunter PR.

Moving around after the huge dinner was definitely necessary, as well. We had a lot of fun and laughs. For some reason I got a kick out of the Velcro bowling shoes, too.

Velcro bowling shoes.
Outback Headquarters R&D spreadsheet.

The next morning we were up bright and early to explore the Outback Headquarters. They took us down into the R&D Kitchen where no one is ever allowed. Seriously, VIP and top secret stuff here.

The research and development kitchen is where the magic happens. Brainstorming and creating new flavors, planning the menu, developing techniques, and just an overwhelming amount of behind-the-scenes stuff that you probably don’t think about while dining at the restaurant!

We got to meet and talk with Jeff Smith, President of Outback Steakhouse, who was friendly and eager to answer our questions.

One of the reasons that he said Outbacks run so well is that they “Hire the right people and get out of their way.”

I love that and it’s so true. Hardworking people that are passionate about what they do don’t need anyone breathing down their necks.

Chefs at Outback Steakhouse making salads.

We also got to chat with John Schaufelberger (Chief Marketing Officer), Mike Salem (Director of Product Marketing), Chris Lakey (Menu Manager), Shellby Clites (Outback Steakhouse Beverages), Samantha Kolodziej (Creative Services), and Chef Paul Fabre (VP of R&D).

You could just feel the creativity and excitement pour off of these people as a group. It was interesting and inspiring to hear each one of their stories and the roles that they play in developing new menu items.

Chefs at Outback Headquarters in Tampa .

Like I said, lots of top secret stuff was happening in this kitchen, but they did allow us to take a few pictures here and there. Everything is prepared at Outback, down to the ranch dressing.

We watched the steps that go into creating the spices, making a dinner salad, and even the famous Bloomin’ Onion.

Making a Bloomin' Onion at Outback.

For lunch we were served items that I cannot talk about until later this month. The only thing I will tell you is to keep an eye out for new menu items at your local Outback.

I was beyond impressed at these tasty new creations and they are foods you do not want to miss!

Name tag for the Outback Bestmates trip.

Clearly, I had the best time on this trip. This opportunity solidified my confidence in the Outback Steakhouse name and I am even more thrilled to be an #OutbackBestmate.

When was the last time you visited Outback? What’s your favorite item on the menu?

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  1. Julie Wood says:

    I loved eating at Outback, and it has been awhile since I have eaten there. It was so delicious. I went there with my Dad and sister and we had the Bloomin Onion and the Big hamburgers and fries. We had dessert and it was so delicious! I loved the food that you had and the mini milkshakes are awesome. I will try these next time.

  2. Fun to see how they make the blooming onions. I want to try the new mushrooms

  3. you just can’t beat a bloomin onion at outback!

  4. Barbara Kesterson says:

    Wow what an awesome opportunity for you. I love the food at Outback and we always enjoy our visits there. Thanks for the insider info on one of my very favorite places.

  5. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I love their burgers at the Outback. We have a couple near us, but the last time I ate at one was last month while I was in San Diego. There was one right up the street from where my in-laws live and I ended up with a Caesar salad that night. It was SO god.

  6. You just made me regret passing up on the Best Mates program, lol. Looks like so much fun and I love Outback!

  7. Jen Temcio @dapperhouse says:

    Outback is one of our favorite places to eat because every one of our picky family members can find something they love. I wish I could have gone with you!!

  8. MommaDJane says:

    We love to go out to Outback for a nice steak dinner on the town.

  9. Tammi @ My Organized Chaos says:

    I crave the bloomin onion! I haven’t been to an Outback in so long, I need to go soon. Drooling!!

  10. Amber Edwards says:

    Oh so jealous!! I would love to visit any Outback Steakhouse! The food there looks absolutely amazing!

  11. Dawn Lopez says:

    Oh wow! This is SO cool, what an awesome way to learn more about the company! I am totally in love with their Bloomin Onion and the mushrooms sound so good. Everything looks outstanding! I really need to get down there to try those mini milkshakes.. all of them!

  12. Brandy Myers says:

    I LOVE the Bloomin Onion. On the rare occasion we make it out of town and eat at an Outback I order the onion as my meal. It’s always worth the wait!

  13. Kayla @ TheEclecticElement says:

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I visited Outback was. It’s not because I don’t like the place, it’s just because I forget we have one in town! I’d really like to go one day and try out all these fantastic looking foods ^.^

  14. This looks like an awesome trip, I am so jealous! I love Outback, especially the Bloomin’ Onion.

  15. CrazyMom a/k/a Melanie says:

    I love Outback.. my all time favorite restaurant… Love the Bloomin’ Onion.. YUMMM

  16. Amy Desrosiers says:

    I love being an Outback Bestmate! They are my favorite a restaurant period.

  17. Mama to 5 BLessings says:

    Sounds like a great time, we love Outback especially the Bloomin’ Onions!

  18. I have not visited Outback in so long but it’s totally time for a visit. What a fun trip!

  19. I love their original steak and the bloomin onion. It is what I always order. I live outside of Tampa so I have driven by the headquarters a couple of times.

  20. Aimee Smith says:

    I could eat appetizers all day long! They are my favorite! Those mini milkshakes are adorable I think anything that is mini is too cute!

  21. Danielle @ We Have It All says:

    Oooh I haven’t been to the Outback in a LONG time;.. YUM!! I want a bloomin’ onion now! AND ribs!

  22. valmg @ From Val's Kitchen says:

    They have some yummy things! I love shakes, I can’t wait to try that mini milkshake!

  23. I have not been to Outback before. But I hear their food is amazing

  24. I so wish I had been able to go! Everything they do, they do well!

  25. Rita Spratlen says:

    I love outback! I take my cousin here for she craves a steak all the time. She is in a home like setting and needs a lung transplant. She is in her early 50’s. She get the same everytime!! Ours is in Oregon though!!

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