Texas Roadhouse vs. Outback Steakhouse: 6 Major Differences
There's a lot to love about a steakhouse chain. Aside from the juicy steaks, a meal at these restaurants can feel particularly indulgent, thanks to the freshly baked bread, mouthwatering side dishes, and decadent desserts. While everyone seeks something different in their dining experience, there are two steakhouse chains that have shown to be fan favorites among customers: Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse.
Beyond leading the pack in systemwide sales, the two steakhouse chains are also continuing to grow their presence across the country. Upon stepping foot into these restaurants, you'll find even more similarities. Most notably, they're both named after places where they weren't founded. Plus, they each serve their own version of a flower-shaped fried onion appetizer. Despite these commonalities, each steakhouse chain still delivers a distinctly unique experience.
If you're craving a steakhouse meal but aren't sure which restaurant to visit, we compared the two biggest steakhouse chains in the United States. Here are some of the major differences between Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse.
A key component to both steakhouse chains is their characteristic themes. True to its name, Outback is an Australian-inspired steakhouse with a casual atmosphere, which the company says makes you feel "like you're right there in the Australian Outback." One way the restaurant does this is by displaying artwork that depicts, yes, the Australian Outback, as well as one of the most notable symbols of the country: the kangaroo.
While Outback aims to transport customers to another nation, Texas Roadhouse takes them right back to the U.S. by highlighting elements associated with the Lone Star State. Within the restaurant's rustic interior, customers may encounter cowboy artwork, line dancing servers, and a jukebox playing country music.
The menu items
Although both restaurant chains have overlap in their menu offerings, they set themselves apart from each other by offering items that convey their distinctive themes. At Texas Roadhouse, you'll find southern favorites like pulled pork, fried catfish, and country fried sirloin. There are also creatively named menu items like the Dallas Filet, Chicken Critters—aka chicken tenders—and Rattlesnake Bites, which are deep-fried jalapeño and jack cheese balls.
Moving down under, Outback customers will see menu items paying tribute to Australia. Some examples include the Tasmanian Chili, which is named after the Australian island, Tasmania, and the Kookaburra Wings, which refer to an Australian bird. Above all, it's hard to forget about Outback's iconic Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie.
The steak display
At Texas Roadhouse, customers don't just order their steak of choice. The southwestern-inspired chain allows them to hand-select it from a meat display featuring various cuts of steak. So, you can assess the marbling of your meat before it gets served on the plate. Outback offers no such display.
The complimentary items
While it's common for restaurants to give guests complimentary items to munch on before their meal, these two steakhouses have slightly different offerings. Outback serves up its famous honey wheat bread and whipped butter, while Texas Roadhouse gives customers freshly baked rolls with honey cinnamon butter. The chain even released a honey cinnamon butter-scented candle last September, which retails for $15 online.
Aside from the bread, Texas Roadhouse is also famous for its free peanuts—along with the shells that are scattered across the restaurants' floors.
The steak prices
In addition to their steaks coming with a choice of two sides, Outback and Texas Roadhouse carry many of the same cuts of steak. However, a key difference between the two is their pricing, which varies depending on the location. Take the filet, for example. At a New Jersey-based Texas Roadhouse, the 6-ounce Dallas Filet with two sides costs $21.99. Meanwhile, Victoria's 6-ounce Filet Mignon with two sides at a New Jersey-based Outback is $26.99.
Choosing between Texas Roadhouse and Outback could be dependent on the meal you're looking to eat. Unlike Outback, Texas Roadhouse is a "dinner-only concept during the week," according to a company fact sheet. While the restaurants are open for lunch on the weekends, the company writes that its "dinner-only philosophy" gives its managers a better lifestyle and decreases real estate costs, "since [it doesn't] have to be located in high-traffic business districts." However, there are some Texas Roadhouse locations that serve lunch on Fridays, as well.
While the steakhouse chain typically opens at 3 or 4 p.m., many Outback locations appear to open at 11 a.m. and close at 10 or 11 p.m., with some restaurants closing at 9 p.m. on Sundays.