Rival restaurants link in Korean Web promotion

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SEOUL--Family restaurants Outback Steakhouse, Sizzler, T.G.I.Friday's, Tony Roma's and Marche are launching a joint brand called "Big Family" in South Korea.

Visitors to the shared Web site (www.bigfamily.co.kr) get $4.50 in free "cyber money" that can be redeemed at any of the five restaurants. Paying the bill with an SK Telecom credit card earns customers more cyber points which can be used at the restaurants.

"It's kind of like sleeping with the enemy" but working together should have a synergy effect,'' says Lee Chai Woo, an operating partner at Outback. Their combined power has already enabled them to negotiate a lower commission from the credit card company.

The restaurants, which compete directly, hope that together they can draw consumers away from other types of eateries.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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