No More "No Rules" [2/25/2009]

Dear Outback,

I like my burgers with three things on top: mushrooms, grilled onions, and Swiss cheese. That's it. No lettuce, tomato, fresh onion, ketchup, mayo, or mustard. Definitely no bacon or onion straws!

A few years after my husband turned ex-vegetarian he acquired a taste for prime rib. I don't like steak or seafood. This meant that on our quest to find the best prime rib in town, I was eating a lot of burgers and chicken at all the steak house chains. His favorite turned out to be Black Angus.

I tried about twenty times to get them to make the mushroom, grilled onion, and Swiss burger for me. (They have a steak add-on/topper of grilled onions and mushrooms. So, theoretically they could get it right.) Well, every time they either left on multiple toppings I didn't want, forgot one of my three things, or both. They were just incapable of making my simple burger.

Luckily, I found I liked their chicken alfredo penne. So, I ordered that every single time. Then, they changed the chicken to shrimp. So, now, I have to ask for chicken instead of shrimp (good thing they haven't got that wrong yet).

One time I went to Outback with a group of friends. Most of the menu was steak and seafood that didn't interest me at all. Finally, on the back page, I found a small section with the "No Rules" burger. It was a design your own burger.

I ordered my burger and got what I wanted!! It was a miracle. And, it was delicious! Fantastically good, and it wasn't wrong. It wasn't wrong to break their rules and change their designed burger recipes. I could get my burger without trouble and without a lot of explaining.

Needless to say, I convinced my husband to go to Outback much more often. In fact, we were going several times a month. I was in heaven ordering my "No Rules" burger how I wanted it every time. I wasn't interested in the few chicken options. Especially not when the burger was so good.

Well, last month, I went to Outback expecting to get another yummy burger. They had changed their menu and removed the reason I came. The "No Rules" was no longer. I had to ask the waiter to remove everything from the new "The Outbacker Burger" and add what I wanted.

But, even worse, I thought (maybe mistakenly) that the whole vibe/feel of Outback was about being laid back and easy going. By forcing me to break their new rules and go through a lot of trouble to get my burger how I wanted it, I was not feeling laid back at all.

I don't know if I'll go back to Outback again. I'm hoping you will come to your senses and see the error of your ways. I hope everyone complains and you are forced to add the "No Rules" back on the menu. But, for the time being, I'll now be arguing for The Cheesecake Factory where I can somewhat easily order my burger.

A former devotee


mmm said...


Thank you for your comments though I am a little stumped by them. Our folks can handle special orders which is why we call it No Rules Just Right! We enjoy making our guest's meals to their specifications. I hope you allow us to continue being one of your favorite restaurants at which to dine.

mmm said...


Thank you very much for responding! Maybe I can explain this a little better..

As I understand it, you have a computer program that the servers enter orders into to interface with the cooks in the back. It requires a specific menu item to be chosen and then changes made to it. The No Rules burger is no longer an option on that computer interface, correct? (At least it isn't at the Metrocenter location.)

As a customer, my experience with this type of system indicates that the more changes (additions and removals from menu item) the more likely it is that the cook and/or server will mess it up. The server is likely to write it down correctly, but somewhere along the line whether in the data entry or the cook's reading the data entry, it is messed up. I don't like having to complain or send something back if it comes out wrong.

Currently to get my order right, it requires subtracting 6 things (bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and mustard) from the burger and adding 3 things (grilled onions, mushrooms, swiss cheese). That's a total of 9 changes!!

I don't currently eat carbs, which means no fries, so, my sides need changing too. It's kind of embarrassing to have to make so many changes and spend a really long time explaining the order. It was so easy when all I had to do was say No Rules with grilled onions, mushrooms, and swiss. That was a somewhat simple order. Now, I have to go on forever explaining the order and risk it coming out wrong.

Does this make sense?? Do you see why I want the No Rules added back on the menu?

mmm said...


– thank you for your quick response and for fully explaining how this change affects your experience at Outback. By making the changes we did with the menu and the POS system, we were able to reduce the amount of time required by servers to input orders by approximately 80% which allows them more time to get back out to the floor to take care of their guests' needs.

Unfortunately, when a company makes one change for the greater good of the business and it's customers, it may also adversely affect some of those same customers we are trying to help.

We will not be making any changes to the menu for the next three months but will monitor feedback from guests on the removal of the No Rules Burger to see if they warrant bringing it back to the menu.

Thank you very much for your time.

Anonymous said...

Me, my wife, and son would go to Outback about once a week to get the No Rules burger. We haven't went back and have not desire to do so because the item we loved is no longer there. We bought other burgers and they were worse than Mcdonalds, the No Rules burger was our favorite of any restaurant. Hope it is posted if they decide to bring this burger back because we will not go back just to see if it is there again.