TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 10, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Stephen Judge will join Bloomin' Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq:BLMN) as President of Bonefish Grill effective January 1, 2013. Judge will join the Company from Darden Restaurants, Inc. where he served as President of Seasons 52, a division of their Specialty Restaurant Group. Judge will succeed John Cooper, who is retiring after a successful 23 year career at Bloomin' Brands. "Stephen's proven leadership and dedication to unparalleled quality is aligned with our commitment to providing a 360 degree customer service experience driven by menu innovation, attractive ambience and world-class service at affordable prices," said Liz Smith, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Bloomin' Brands. "His balanced, strong operations experience, and respect for our founder-inspired brands, will help guide the growth of Bonefish Grill." "I am delighted to join the executive leadership team at Bloomin' Brands, and honored and privileged to be appointed President of Bonefish Grill," said Judge. "Bonefish Grill's unique position and exceptional quality is the result of a dedicated leadership team and very well-trained team members, and I look forward to working with them." Cooper joined Bloomin' Brands in 1989 as one of Outback Steakhouse's first joint venture partners where he developed 13 restaurants in Orlando. He became President of Bonefish Grill in 2001 where he helped grow the brand from two locations to167 nationwide. He has been recognized with several industry awards throughout his career, including recognition as the 2012 "Operator of the Year" by Nation's Restaurant News. "We thank John for his vision and dedication to Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill and Bloomin' Brands," said Smith. "He has been a transformational leader with a passion for this business." About Bloomin' Brands, Inc. Bloomin' Brands, Inc. is one of the largest casual dining restaurant companies in the world. The portfolio of five founder-inspired brands is comprised of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Roy's with more than 1,400 restaurants in 48 states and 20 countries and territories. For more information, visit bloominbrands.com.
CONTACT: Cathie Koch Vice President, Corporate Communications (813) 830-5127