Inventing Australia for Americans: The rise of the Outback Steakhouse restaurant chain in the USA
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The Outback Steakhouse is a commercially successful chain of American-owned, Australian themed restaurants. There are more than twelve hundred of these restaurants spread through-out the United States and across the world in places as diverse as China, Indonesia, and Venezuela. In 2001, the first Outback Steakhouse to open in Australia was launched in Parklea, New South Wales. By 2011, another six of these restaurants were operating in New South Wales with further Australian expansion planned. The Outback Steakhouse was founded in the aftermath of Crocodile Dundee by four business people who had never been to Australia. It reflects many elements of the late nineteenth century "Australian legend" and can be viewed as an American interpretation and construction of an "Australian" space. This construction of "Australian identity" has been so financially and internationally successful, that it has now been sold back to Australia. This article explores the rise of this chain of Australian-themed restaurants in the United States. How do these restaurants represent and depict Australia? Who controls these depictions? Do these restaurants have any influence on the way Australia is viewed by citizens of the United States? Finally, do these restaurants have any influence on the concepts of nationality that Australians both within this country and internationally- feel?
This document has been peer reviewed.