As part of the review, Outback is reaching out to a number of shops, with the incumbent expected to defend the account.
Representatives for Kaplan Thaler could not be immediately reached. A spokeswoman for Outback's parent, Tampa, Fla.-based OSI Restaurant Partners, confirmed the review, but declined to comment further.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based consultancy Select Resources International is leading the pitch, along with two other ongoing reviews for OSI brands -- Carrabba's Italian Grill and Roy's Hawaiian fusion restaurants.
For privately held OSI, which is also the parent of chains Bonefish Grill and Cheeseburger in Paradise, reassessing its marketing partners comes as the company's financial performance has taken a nosedive. For the first six months of 2008, OSI posted a $186 million loss, compared with an $18 million profit in the same period in the prior year.
OSI in 2007 allocated more than $100 million toward domestic measured media spending, according to TNS Media Intelligence; of that, $82.3 million was devoted to the Outback chain.