Goodbye Sizzler – value not there for Aussie consumers

In Attractions, Community, Featured Home Page News, Food, Momentum, Queensland, Western Australia

“…Diners based on value-for-money servings were no longer popular in Australia, particularly with millennials and Generation Y parents in their thirties.”

How Australia fell out of love with Sizzler: The subtle changes that led to families turning their backs on the all-you-can-eat salad bar and cheesy toast sparking chain’s closure after 35 years

  • Sizzler is closing its nine remaining restaurants in Australia by November 15
  • Collins Foods, which has licensing right, announced closure of the nine outlets
  • This ends a 35-year presence of an American value-oriented diner in Australia 
  • Demographer Mark McCrindle said Australian tastes were more sophisticated

From The Daily Mail, The

After 35 years, Californian restaurant chain Sizzler is permanently closing its nine remaining restaurants from November 15.

As recently as 2015, Australia was home to 26 Sizzlers.

Collins Foods, which owns the local rights to Sizzler, told the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday it would close its last outlets in south-east Queensland, Perth and south-west Sydney.

Demographer Mark McCrindle said 1980s-style American diners based on value-for-money servings were no longer popular in Australia, particularly with millennials and Generation Y parents in their thirties.

Australians have become too sophisticated for American-style all-you-can eat buffets. After 35 years, Californian restaurant chain Sizzler is permanently closing its nine remaining restaurants from November 15

Australians have become too sophisticated for American-style all-you-can eat buffets. After 35 years, Californian restaurant chain Sizzler is permanently closing its nine remaining restaurants from November 15

‘We’ve all been there, great nostalgia, but the fact is we’ve all changed,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

Sizzler restaurants closing on November 15

Campbelltown, south-west Sydney

Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast

Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast

Caboolture, Moreton Bay north of Brisbane

Loganholme, Logan south of Brisbane

Toowoomba, Queensland

Innaloo, northern Perth

Kelmscott, southern Perth

Morley, inner-north Perth

‘That cheesy toast, we look back with such warm affection but the reality is would we still go for it?’

For just $19.95, Sizzler’s Endless Salad Bar offered 60 all-you-can eat choices, from cheesy toast to pumpkin soup to pesto pasta.

In a more multicultural society, Australians have gravitated towards more sophisticated dining experiences, preferring exotic dishes to American franchise offerings focused on larger portion sizes.

‘Our culinary tastes are more culturally diverse and Thai is so big with the next generation and now getting more sophisticated with Afghani food and Middle Eastern food,’ Mr McCrindle said.

‘It’s about the experience, it’s about the lifestyle, it’s about the social and the ambiance.

‘It’s not just about the value for money – “I’m going to spend this much and get all I can, I can go to the buffet 16 times”.’

While demand will still exist for takeaway McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, for convenience reasons, health-conscious consumers were also shunning the concept of all-you-can eat restaurants.

Collins Foods has the licence to operate KFC outlets in Australia and there are certainly no plans to close any of these fast food restaurants.

All-you-can eat dining was out of date back in the 20th century, with Pizza Hut closing most of its dine-restaurants by the early 2000s.

Collins Foods, which owns the local rights to Sizzler, told the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday it would close its outlets in south-east Queensland, Perth and south-west Sydney

Collins Foods, which owns the local rights to Sizzler, told the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday it would close its outlets in south-east Queensland, Perth and south-west Sydney

Demographer Mark McCrindle said 1980s-style American diners based on value-for-money servings were no longer popular in Australia, particularly with millennials and Generation Y parents in their thirties. In a more multicultural society, Thai food is proving much more popular

Outside of Sizzler, RSL clubs and cruise ships were the only places in Australia that have been offering smorgasbord dining.

‘That, for older Australians, is still there but for the next generation, they’ve definitely picked it up in terms of that sophistication, choice, that propensity to experience new things, push what might have been the traditions of what they grew up with,’ Mr McCrindle said.

‘They’re prepared to spend money on that.’

Australia has certainly changed a lot since Sizzler opened its first local restaurant in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Annerley in July 1985, after Collins Food International bought Link Foods, the owners of five Bonanza restaurants and four Taco Den restaurants.

Table service dining with all-you-can eat menus was out of date back in the 20th century, with Pizza Hut closing most of its dine-restaurants by the early 2000s. Pictured is a Pizza Hut in the mid-1980s, back when buffet menus were much more popular

Table service dining with all-you-can eat menus was out of date back in the 20th century, with Pizza Hut closing most of its dine-restaurants by the early 2000s. Pictured is a Pizza Hut in the mid-1980s, back when buffet menus were much more popular

Within less than 18 months, three Brisbane restaurants were turned into a Sizzler.

During its early days in Australia three decades ago, a future Labor senator and cabinet minister Mark Arbib, as a student, worked part-time at a Sizzler in Bondi Junction in Sydney’s east.

His dispute with management led to him joining the union movement and getting into politics.

That was during Australia’s last recession in 1991 when, like now, unemployment was rising.

Unlike three decades ago, the world is also battling a pandemic, amid predictions coronavirus will kill off the buffet menu as diners worry about hygiene.

COVID-19 has only accelerated a trend that was happening anyway.

Australia has certainly changed a lot since Sizzler opened its first local restaurant in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Annerley in July 1985, after Collins Food International bought Link Foods, the owners of five Bonanza restaurants and four Taco Den restaurants. Pictured is a Brisbane city Sizzler in 2006

Australia has certainly changed a lot since Sizzler opened its first local restaurant in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Annerley in July 1985, after Collins Food International bought Link Foods, the owners of five Bonanza restaurants and four Taco Den restaurants.

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