Let’s meat at Outback Steakhouse
OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2014 - 12:00am

While some entrepreneurs need to hunt for the right business idea that would set them on the path to success, there are those who luckily get theirs just by watching TV. 

Crocodile Dundee to be exact,” says Outback Steakhouse Southeast Asia chairman Prasoon Mukherjee with an impish grin over lunch at the newly opened Outback Steakhouse in BluebayWalk, Pasay City.

Prasoon is referring to Chris Sullivan, one of the founders of the largest steakhouse chain in the world, who at 48 took an early retirement to start his own restaurant named after the vast remote Australian outback.

Contrary to popular belief, Outback Steakhouse is actually a popular American brand that originated in Florida where Sullivan comes from.

An avid fan of Crocodile Dundee, Sullivan was inspired to put up a restaurant similar to the local pub owned by Dundee’s business partner Walter “Wally” Reilly. And so, he immediately called his friend, chef Tim Gannon — who was working somewhere else — and asked him to fly over to Florida to conceptualize the menu and get things started.

“Unfortunately, Tim didn’t have enough money to buy a plane ticket. An ardent polo player, he sold his saddle for US$200 and booked a flight to Florida the next day. Tim and Chris are good friends. They trusted each other. I guess that’s the secret to the brand’s success. It’s built on trust and hard work,” adds Prasoon, who bought Outback Steakhouse from The Bistro Group in 2010.

THE PRICE AT STEAK

Americans are very enamored with the Australian theme, and with Outback Steakhouse’s signature steaks and other delicious offerings, it didn’t take long before it became the talk of the town. The chain’s popularity spread not only in the US but other countries as well including the Philippines, which opened its first branch in 1997. For years, steak lovers have been frequenting Outback Steakhouse’s three branches — Glorietta 4 in Makati,  Acropolis in Libis, QC., and Alabang Town Center. Those who reside in Manila have no choice but to brave the heavy traffic just so they could have their fill of the tender, juicy, and savory 10-oz. rib eye steak, or the thick-cut Victoria’s Fillet.

 

 

After 17 years, a new branch opens at BluebayWalk on Macapagal Ave., Pasay City. The 170-seater restaurant offers the same trademark food and service that the restaurant is known for.

“It has taken this long for the brand to expand, because we are looking for strategic locations for our restaurants,” explains Prasoon, who sees to it that the brand is located at the best possible sites. “If we find a good location, we’ll open tomorrow.”

Changes were undertaken when Prasoon took over Outback Steakhouse. For one, the restaurants now sport a modern/contemporary look. At the main dining area, new lighting fixtures were installed, the floor carpet was replaced with warm wood, the black leather cushioned seats were changed with creamy beige and brown fabric, while some booths were removed to make room for more tables and an open seating space. The bar likewise underwent a facelift. Amid the renovation, Outback Steakhouse managed to retain its unique Australian charm; the mood is as relaxed and casual as ever.

At the BluebayWalk branch, glass panels let natural light in while the walls are bathed in mellow-yellow, believed to induce one’s appetite. At the entrance, guests are greeted by the Fresh Wall, an installation that showcases the 17 different spices Outback Steakhouse use to flavor the food.

While the restaurant has a relaxed, laid-back ambience, Prason says they are very serious about their food.

 “We source our meat from the US and Australia. The cattle has to be 90 days old and grain fed,” notes Prasoon.

According to Prasoon there are two kinds of cattle: one is grass fed, the other is grain fed.

“If the cattle is grass fed, the cow regularly walks around the field so they develop muscles, which makes the meat tougher. Grain-fed cows are more relaxed so their meat tends to be tender,” he explains. “All the ingredients we use have to pass standards set by the US and we can only source from respected suppliers. This ensures the quality of our food.”

At the BluebayWalk branch opening, we feasted on Outback Steakhouse bestsellers such as the rib eye steak, which can be enjoyed as is or with red wine demiglace; Victoria’s Fillet, the most tender and juicy thick-cut steak there is; and the char-grilled baby back ribs. Outback Steakhouse also offers an assortment of chicken, seafood, salads, and pasta dishes.

“ At Outback Steakhouse, we don’t sell chairs, we sell food. People come here to enjoy our food and the service. And that’s exactly what we provide them,” enthuses Prasoon.

Indeed, Outback Steakhouse is where friends and families “meat” and have a good time.

* * *

Outback Steakhouse has branches at Glorietta 4, Makati City; Acropolis, Libis, QC; Alabang Town Center; and at BluebayWalk on Macapagal Ave. in Pasay City.

ALABANG TOWN CENTER COM CROCODILE DUNDEE FOOD OUTBACK OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE PASAY CITY PRASOON STEAKHOUSE
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