Restaurants seek national firm

TAMPA, FL: Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill are in the middle of a review for a national PR agency, following a change of ownership earlier this year.

The restaurant chains' parent company, OSI Restaurant Partners, hired Santa Monica, CA-based SelectResources International (SRI) to help the search. Mid- to large-size firms with multiple offices nationwide are being targeted, said Dan Orsborn, senior partner and head of SRI's PR practice. A decision is expected by early December.

Both casual-dining restaurants previously conducted most of their PR in-house, he added.

"The search seeks to identify an agency partner capable of developing breakthrough communications to the brand's key customer segments," SRI stated in a press release.

In June, the publicly held OSI announced it had been acquired by two private-equity firms, putting it in private hands. Though the company's founders and certain members of management were retained, the $3.5 billion transaction could signal a new direction for the restaurants.

Post-acquisition, OSI common stock ceased trading on the NYSE, and its CEO stated in a release that the restaurants' concepts are better suited for growth as a private company.

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