New Outback CEO brings change

It’s the homegrown restaurant chain that’s synonymous with the Bay Area.

The first Outback Steakhouse opened in Tampa nearly 22 years ago and is still going strong.

But there’s someone new at the helm charting the company’s future course.

New CEO Liz Smith is forging ahead with new plans to always put the customer first.

In our recent interview, she showed me the Outback test kitchen, where she spends a lot of time sampling what Research and Development Chef Pauly Dauterive cooks up.

Since being hired away from Avon last November, Smith has been immersed in learning the restaurant business from the inside out.

“It’s not okay to be average anymore, to have an okay meal,” Smith said. “Everything has to really be special and stand out.”

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