Outback Steakhouse is an Australian-themed American casual dining restaurant chain owned and operated by OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC (OSI). The brand was formed in February 1988 in Tampa, Florida by Robert D. "Bob" Basham, Chris T. Sullivan, Trudy Cooper and J. Timothy Gannon.
As of December 31, 2011, OSI owned/operated 669 restaurants domestically and 111 internationally. In addition, they have 153 franchised locations across the world and a joint venture comprising 34 international locations.
All of the chain's meats are heavily seasoned; a 17 spice blend is used for the signature dish, steak. Outback fries its food in beef tallow, and uses butter and heavy cream in many dishes. Burgers are ground from beef tenderloin. Although a number of menu items are grilled, steaks are prepared on a griddle using butter as a heat transfer medium. Many Outback Restaurants now offer the option to have steaks grilled over an open oak wood flame. These steaks are seasoned with a lighter blend, and butter is not used. This provides a healthier option, while maintaining flavor because of the smoke.