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Outback Steakhouse shutters 3 locations, pulls out of Hawaii

Nina Wu

The Outback Steakhouse chain has pulled out of Hawaii, shuttering its three remaining restaurants in the state on Sunday.

The Florida-based company closed down its restaurants at the end of the day Sunday, reportedly with short notice, leaving customers and employees stunned.

The three remaining locations that closed were at Waipio Shopping Center in Waipahu, Kapolei Parkway Shops, and in Kona on Hawaii island.

Last year, Outback Steakhouse, an Australian-inspired steakhouse restaurant chain, shuttered its locations in Hawaii Kai on Oahu and in Kihei, Maui.

The restaurant entered the Hawaii market in 2001, a corporate spokesperson from owner Bloomin Brands said in an email, which was 23 years ago.

Bloomin Brands did not share how many employees were affected by the closures.

Restaurants are struggling with higher costs of doing business, according to Sheryl Matsuoka, executive director of the Hawaii Restaurant Association. When leases are up, restaurants have to decide whether to continue or leave.

“For many restaurants, it has been very difficult after the holidays,” she said. “You saw a slight boost on Valentine’s Day, but this Valentine’s day was not stronger than last year, and it was weaker than prior to the pandemic.”

The shuttering of the Hawaii Kai location last year was the first indicator of more Outback closures to come, she said.

She says HRA would be happy to help any Outback Steakhouse restaurant employees find new employment in the industry in the same area without charge.

Anyone seeking restaurant positions can email HRA at info@hawaiirestaurant.org.

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