Citybiz Interview with Steve McGuiness, CEO of Outback Grills

From a young age, Steve McGuinness has been founding companies – three in college alone. And despite some ups and downs (sometimes with disappointing business partners), he went on to found a successful roof coating company for which he developed innovative products.

But his curiosity about the world and drive to push himself to new heights has caused him to do even more.

In the past two decades, he’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, completed full Ironman’s, jumped out of planes and started an acting career. “I call doing Ironman’s my midlife crisis,” laughs McGuinness, who also has a pilot’s license, snow skis, kayaks and scuba dives.

And the middle-aged entrepreneur isn’t done yet. He’s launched another passion project: a portable grill for outdoor enthusiasts inspired by how bonfires naturally attract people to congregate around their warm flames.

Practicing setting up camp as a kid

“Since I was a kid, I’ve always camped and loved to hike. I did a lot of backpacking in college and when I had kids, we did a lot of family camping,” McGuinness says. “I wanted to create a product that would create these warm memories for people and be incredibly versatile.”

The Woodstock, Georgia resident created a grill that is light, adjustable and adaptable, and portable for car camping and RV travelers: The Outback Grill Explorer 300. It also can serve as a firepit.

The entrepreneur believes that while it’s important to go “full throttle, it’s even more important to know how to slow down, sharing food and fellowship around the campfire.”

As CEO and founder of Outback Grills, the undertaking has had its own share of adventures, including travel to China to find a manufacturer and creating a niche in the world of grills.

“It’s definitely David vs. Goliath. I’m up against some major, major names. From production to the website, strategy research and start-up capital, it’s been a big undertaking.”

But training for Ironman races has inspired him to go the distance with his business endeavors.

“The Ironman triathlon and climbing Kilimanjaro pushes you beyond what you think you can do and that inspires me. And it transfers over to business – to be able to endure things that you thought you’d never be able to endure and keep going.”



The Explorer 300 burns any kind of fuel, from hardwood logs to lump charcoal. It’s sturdy and portable with 300-square inches of cooking surface. Telescoping legs means people can put it at a comfortable height and the adjustable grill surface means outdoor chefs can control the heat of the grill. And it only weighs 22 pounds, while being sturdy and well crafted.

Interview questions:

Introduction | Give me an introduction to Outback Grills? (describe the idea, the grill, launch, next steps)

Career + Inspiration | I understand you’ve been a serial entrepreneur, including creating patented roof coating products and challenging yourself personally through Ironmans and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. How did all of this lead to the launch of Outback Grills? What was the inspiration as this seems like a sharp right turn?

Milestones | What are some of the key milestones you’ve reached for Outback Grills? (patent…)

Consumer | Who is the consumer for this product? What makes it different from your competitors?

Competitive Landscape | You’ve described Outback Grills as a David v. Goliath story – you’re going up against some giant consumer brands – how do you plan to compete?

Distribution | What are your primary distribution channels? Will you be trying to get into Walmarts, Home Depots and other large retailers?

Digital | How important is the social media/digital strategy?

Capital | How is Outback Grills funded?

Growth | What are your growth plans?

Call to Action | How would you like people to find Outback Grills?

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn

Recent articleOutback Grills Launches New Product: The Explorer 300




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