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Outback Steakhouse is an American casual dining restaurant chain based in Tampa, Florida with over 1200 locations in 22 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It was founded in February 1988 in Tampa by Bob Basham, Chris T. Sullivan, Trudy Cooper and Tim Gannon, and is now owned and operated in the United States by OSI Restaurant Partners, and by other franchise and venture agreements internationally. In 1997, Outback entered the South Korean market through the franchise agreement with Aussie Chung Inc. Currently, there are 101 Outback Steakhouse locations throughout South Korea. On June 14, 2007, OSI Restaurant Partners completed a stock repurchase plan, and the company is now privately held. Canadian Outback restaurants began in 1996. In March 2009 Outback Steakhouse Canada abruptly closed all nine locations in the province of Ontario, citing poor economic conditions. In June 2009, an Outback restaurant reopened in Niagara Falls. Three Outback locations continue to operate in Edmonton, Alberta. All meat is heavily seasoned; there is a 17 spice blend for the steaks themselves. Outback bills its food as “full flavor”. It fries its food in vegetable shortening, and uses real butter and heavy cream in many dishes. Burgers are ground from beef tenderloin. Menus are highly regionalized. Crawfish appear in some dishes in Southern American locations, as do sweet potatoes. Eastern locations often feature Maine Lobster tails, while western locations frequently serve Alaskan King Crab legs and cakes.