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Business Journal: 14 Bonefish Grills to close

Posted at 10:01 AM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 10:01:16-05

In this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal segment, editor Alexis Muellner discusses why over a dozen Bonefish Grills are closing, the positive health news for Tampa, and the impact the completion of TIA's first expansion project will mean for the airport.

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Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands announced it is closing fourteen of the 215 Bonefish Grill restaurants around the country. Which locations will close has yet to be announced.

Bloomin' Brands is the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and Bonefish Grill.

"They added more complicated menus. They added higher prices and that was creating longer lines. I think their performance suffered," says Muellner.

The closure will allow Bloomin' Brands management to take a close look at what makes Bonefish Grill successful and what does not, so the company can give its shareholders maximum value for their investment.

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This year the City of Tampa took part in a national challenge to sign up as many eligible uninsured people under the Affordable Care Act as it could.

It ended up registering 113,821 residents for health insurance in the federal marketplace. That is nearly 37,000 more than in 2015. Approximately 49 percent of eligible people signed up. That ranked Tampa eleventh out of the twenty cities that competed in the competition.

The Affordable Care Act, also commonly known as "Obamacare," remains controversial, but Alexis considers the challenge a win for Tampa.

"When it comes to insuring people that really need that kind of help; the stress on safety-net hospitals like Tampa General which provide a lot of charity care, no matter how you feel about this act, they more people that they can sign up, I think for public health purposes and for costs, the better," says Muellner.

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This week Tampa International Airport opened its new 20,000-square-foot concessions receiving and distribution center. Construction came $1.3 million dollars under budget.

The building is the first completed project under the airport's master plan expansion. It will allow TIA to add 65 new restaurants and shops over the next two years.

"This allows for very rapid supplies to be distributed to their concessionaires," says Muellner. "They just opened the first couple, Bay Coffee and Auntie Anne's, this week."

Airport officials believe the distribution center will help keep TIA among the best airports in the world.

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For more information on these stories, click on the video player, go to youtu.be/DaaEId6dEbo or pick up this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal available on newsstands and online.