Activist investor renews call for changes at Outback Steakhouse parent company

Barington Capital Group L.P. wants Tampa restaurant operator Bloomin’ Brands Inc. to spin off or sell three of its restaurant brands and leave Outback Steakhouse to operate independently.

Barington, an activist investment firm in New York, is concerned about what it says is a sustained period of underperformance at Bloomin’ Brands under Elizabeth Smith, chairman and CEO.

Bloomin’ is making great progress in elevating the customer experience, and has posted increases in sales and market share over the last three quarters, Smith said in a news release. The company has taken action to cut overhead and reinvest the savings to improve its digital and IT infrastructure, as well as enhance its growing off-premise business, she said.

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Ten local nonprofits to take the stage for Thursday’s SVP Fast Pitch

Pitch competitions are a staple of the startup world. Accelerators across the country prepare entrepreneurs to take the stage and share their ideas – in three minutes or less – with a room full of captivated community members, mentors and possible investors.

But what might a pitch night look like if the startups were replaced with nonprofits? What if, instead of relying grant funding with its many strings attached, nonprofits functioned more like startups? What if, for six weeks (and hopefully beyond) nonprofits laid archaic bureaucracies and practices to the wayside and did something different, something nimble.

In its second year, Social Venture Partners Tampa Bay Fast Pitch seeks to help nonprofits do just that. After six weeks of accelerated training and refinement, 10 organizations will present their social enterprise ideas at the Palladium in St. Petersburg Thursday night.

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Publix promotions have a digital focus, and other Tampa Bay business news briefs

Publix Super Markets Inc. has given Laurie Douglas, senior vice president and chief information officer, additional responsibilities as chief digital officer.

University of South Florida, Eckerd College and University of Tampa are among the top 500 colleges and universities in the nation, according to a new report from WalletHub.

Dr. Rich Castellano, a Tampa surgeon, is at the forefront of a nationwide medical training movement focused on physician mental health.

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What Makes Us ... Us

For thousands of years, we've searched to answer the question: Who are we? Today, science has brought us closer than ever to the answer. This hour, TED speakers share ideas on what makes us ... us.

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The Hustle

Esteban Valdez (Echo Bridge)

Esteban Valdez is the creative mind of Echo-Bridge, an award-winning animation studio based in St. Petersburg. As the owner and director/producer, he oversees film, television and animation projects.

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Keep St. Pete Local

Keep Saint Petersburg Local organizes to unite St. Pete’s many local businesses.

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The Shuffle

Laura Iversen
Bovie Medical Co.

Maria S. Lucas


Frank Biafora

Focus: Profiles

Catalyst profile: Stephanie Gularte of American Stage

The 47-year-old Gularte, who joined American Stage at the tail end of 2014, inherited an organization that was financially solvent, more or less, but was having difficulty getting to the next level, creatively. After 40 years, perhaps understandably, a certain amount of programming complacency had set in.

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October 25

ACUMEN: Ripples of #MeToo

#MeToo Brought Down 201 Powerful Men. Nearly Half of Their Replacements are Women. [NYT]

“We’ve never seen something like this before,” said Joan Williams, a law professor who studies gender at the University of California, Hastings. “Women have always been seen as risky, because they might do something like have a baby. But men are now being seen as more risky hires.”

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