An alternative data profile of Bloomin' Brands as CEO Liz Smith steps aside

2 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Features
Outgoing Bloomin' Brands CEO Liz Smith

Early today, Bloomin' Brands ($NASDAQ:BLMN), the restaurant group that includes Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse, began setting expectations for an analyst and investor day on Monday, March 11, 2019 in New York.

Atop the early information made available is a CEO shift that will see current Chairman and CEO Liz Smith taking a new role as Executive Chairman. David J. Deno will step into the newly vacated CEO spot.

Smith was well liked at the company — and by investors. Here's what we know about her ratings as well as general workplace culture, hiring trends, and other alternative data indicators as the company gets ready to lay out its future to investors on Monday.

Employee Workplace Ratings via Glassdoor

Liz Smith has been with Bloomin' Brands since 2009. She's well regarded in the company, and after she reported a positive Q1 2018, her rankings shot from 53% to as high as 82%. She's kept her positive ratings, stepping away from her CEO post with a 70% approval rating.

Overall workplace ratings saw a similar spike in April 2018, jumping from a mediocre 3 out of 5 to an above-average 4.0 by July. Since then, workplace review ratings have sunk to a more realistic-but-above-average 3.6 out of 5.

Until last spring, employees were sour on Bloomin's business outlook. By January 14, 2018, Business Outlook ratings on Glassdoor were at a paltry 18%. But by last spring, those numbers had swelled to a healthy 70%. As of today, they remain at an above-average 59%.

Around the same time — spring of 2018 — Bloomin' employee feeling their compensation & benefits began to rise. Out of a 2.7 out of 5 cellar, compensation & benefits ratings on Glassdoor are now at an above-average 3.5 out of 5.

Much like other workplace reviews, Culture & Value ratings took a steep jump last Spring. At one time, employees rated the culture & values at Bloomin' at a low 2.7. Today, they give it a 3.6.

Company growth via LinkedIn

While employee sentiment is a good indicator of the health of a company, perhaps a more objective indicator is company growth when it comes to workplace size. According to employee count data via LinkedIn, Bloomin' Brands has been on a steady growth path since early 2018. On January 1, 2018, 868 people listed Bloomin' Brands as their employer. As of yesterday, more than 1,000 include Bloomin' as their workplace.

Smith's future-focused hiring strategy

Part of the reason Liz Smith was so successful with Bloomin' Brands — along with improving the food quality and serving sizes for customers — was her forward thinking embrace of future trends for the restaurant industry. At the core of this was Smith's bullish embrace of creating an in-house delivery operation at 450 restaurants by the end of 2018. Smith reported at that time that delivery had already made up 14% of the business' sales. In fact, as of last count, the company was hiring 584 delivery drivers

Hiring remains healthy for Bloomin' Brands, with 8,759 current openings. Delivery aside, the business has remained just as focused on its retail, in-person experience. It currently has 2,909 openings for Kitchen Managers and thousands more openings for Restaurant Managers.


Title (Count)

Assistant Kitchen Manager (Hourly) - Outback & Carrabba's Express


KEY (Hourly) - Outback & Carrabba's Express


Restaurant Manager - Outback Steakhouse - Charlottesville, VA


Restaurant Manager - Outback Steakhouse - Arlington, VA


Restaurant Manager - Outback Steakhouse - Alexandria, VA


Restaurant Manager - Outback Steakhouse - Stafford, VA


Restaurant Manager - Outback Steakhouse - Warrenton, VA


Restaurant Manager - Outback Steakhouse - Pittsburgh, PA


Restaurant Manager - Outback Steakhouse - Harrisburg, PA


Restaurant Manager - Outback Steakhouse - Waynesboro, VA


A powerful retail footprint

Bloomin' Brands' success has a lot to do with its customers' positive experiences. Along with the aforementioned focus on managers and customer service, Bloomin' Brands' restaurant locations are a diverse mix of distribution reflection local demand. At least half of its restaurants are Outback Steakhouses, followed by Carrabba's Italian Grill Italian.

As for favored cities, Orlando comes in first with 13 Bloomin' Brands locations followed by restaurant-haven Houston, Texas.


Name (Count)









Las Vegas












Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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