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Does the Bloomin' Onion Work Everywhere? The Ins & Outs of Managing International Operations and Taste Buds

30 Aug 2017 3:46 PM | TB OWIT (Administrator)

I know that we here in the U.S. think that Outback’s Bloomin Onion® is downright delicious, but does the Bloomin Onion translate across cultures?

The short answer is “yes”, but if you missed Kim Van Heuvelen’s August 24th presentation you missed learning how Bloomin’ Brands has translated the Outback menu, restaurant, and the idea of steak across the world. Ms. Van Heuvelen is the Manager of International Operations and her many passports are proof that Outback has been translated far and wide.  Kim walked us through three examples of Outback overseas:  China, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil.

We learned about menu innovation & localization, restaurant design variations, cultural & diversity adaptations all in the name of introducing a “new” culture of food.

Kim had some really great examples. Too many to list in this article, but here are a few. We learned about China’s fast moving culture which affects restaurant design, the revised menus of Saudi Arabia which also factors in Ramadan, and how Brazilians love their frozen beer mugs, Baby Back ribs on the Barbie, and Nutella on their Chocolate Thunder from down Under dessert.  Kim also incorporated how Outback hires for each country and when they use in-country experts.

Kim started off her career in an Outback restaurant and has grown within the company as the company has grown around the world. Her knowledge of restaurant operations was obvious. As her many passports prove, Kim knows her Bloomin’ Onion and together with the rest of the International Team at Bloomin’ Brands, has learned how to introduce that flavor to many different countries and in turn adapt the Outback experience to local flavors. What a mouthwatering and eye opening presentation Kim gave!


Kim has graciously shared her slide deck with us. Please find it here 



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The Tampa Bay Chapter (TBOWIT), established in 1997, is one of more than 30 + chapters worldwide under the umbrella of OWIT, the Organization of Women in International Trade, a dynamic organization created to enhance the status and interests of women in the field of international business.

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