TRENTON — Customers and laid-off employees are disappointed with the closure of five Outback, Carrabba's and Bonefish Grill restaurants in New Jersey.

Parent company Bloomin' Brands closed 43 under-performing locations around the country, including five in New Jersey, after what it called a "challenging year" for both the company and the industry.

The locations closed in New Jersey are:

  • Bonefish Grill in Middletown
  • Carrabba's in Middletown
  • Carrabba's in Egg Harbor Township
  • Carrabba's in Evesham
  • Outback Steakhouse in Lawrenceville

The decision apparently came as a surprise to workers at the  Carrabba's in Middletown.

"I work next to Carrabbas and Tuesday they were open and on Wednesday morning they called the whole staff in and told them they were all out of a job. Was very sad and by today the whole place was gutted and empty," Matthew Rowland commented on Facebook about the news.

"I have very fond memories with my late mother here. I'm sorry to see it go," Joseph Luther wrote on Facebook about the Carrabba's in EHT in response.

"I have officially had my heart broken today. Carrabba's Italian Grill in EHT closed," Mark Wickline wrote on Facebook.

"We have provided severance for all employees and are working to place as many as possible in our other restaurants," Bloomin' Brands spokeswoman wrote about the New Jersey closures. "Closing a restaurant is a difficult decision. It was based purely on business circumstances and has no reflection on employees or their service."

The Off the Hook Restaurant in Highlands posted on their Facebook page they are accepting applications for all positions.

"Hopefully, we can help each other," the restaurant wrote.

Meanwhile, 18 Outback, 12 Bonefish Grill and eight Carrabba's locations will remain open in New Jersey.

Bloomin' Brands' other chain is Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, which has locations in Edgewater and Marlton.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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