Gross sales are up over 2019 ranges, discovering employees not an issue

David Deno, CEO of Bloomin ‘Brands, told CNBC on Thursday that the restaurant company’s U.S. sales were higher than two years ago and that finding employees who could keep up with the recovery from Covid hadn’t been a challenge.

“It’s going very well in our restaurants. In fact, we have not only increased compared to 2020, but also by 12.6% compared to 2019, which was way ahead of the pandemic,” Deno said in an interview on “The Exchange”. “

These comparable US sales figures cover the first four weeks of the second quarter, according to the company’s earnings release for the first quarter. Florida-based Bloomin ‘is the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Carrabbas Italian Grill, and Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

Although Americans are more comfortable returning indoors as Covid vaccinations are widespread, the company’s ability to continue targeting take-out customers was critical to this sales growth, according to Deno.

“Customers come back and enjoy our food in the restaurants. The important thing is that we keep our delivery and transportation business outside of the company when the dining rooms reopen,” said Deno, who joined Bloomin ‘Brands from Best Buy in 2012 Appointed CEO March 2019.

“Our goal is to keep the carryout and delivery business we had during the pandemic because people now understand that they can get great casual food at home,” added Deno. By combining it with “great service” in its restaurants, Bloomin hopes to “capture the magic of” and “and generate sales growth outside of business and at dinner,” he said.

Some restaurants and other service companies say they are struggling to find workers to fill vacancies as the US economy picks up pace. However, according to Deno, this wasn’t a huge problem for Bloomin ‘. He cited the company’s stance towards its employees last year when the Covid pandemic hit and the economy plunged into recession.

“We decided last year not to leave or let go of one person in our restaurants – not one – when we turned the dining rooms back on and people came back, we already had staff,” said Deno. “So we had a very high base and our retention rates are very high. Our sales are very, very low compared to the rest of the industry.”

Last year, Bloomin ‘Brands announced that under the Workforce Adjustment and Retraining Act, thousands of restaurant workers had received “precautionary” notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act. This is evident from reports in the Tampa Bay Business Journal April 2020.

“We had no layoffs at the time, nor are we expecting them. To date, we have given six weeks of relief to employees who are currently out of hours because our dining rooms are closed,” a spokeswoman for Bloomin ‘Brands told the Tampa Bay Business Journal at that time.

Deno told CNBC on Thursday, “Of course, with 12% sales growth in the same store, we have to occupy the restaurants and add more people, but we can do this from what we have to offer the staff.”

The company didn’t pay any additional retention fees, he said. “People want to see two things. First, they ask what they get paid, what they get paid. And … they want to work in a great environment and we feel able to offer both, and so we could Recruiting people we need. “

Bloomin ‘Brands shares closed nearly 9% on Thursday at $ 31.38 apiece.

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