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Sizzler still smoldering
Endless Salad Bar
Sizzler was another one of my favorite lunch spots last century. The cheese bread is to die for. The salad bar was a buffet by itself. The salad bar included pasta, marinara sauce, chicken wings, baked potatoes, tacos, tostadas, vegetables, and fruit. This was quite a bargain for the average price of $5.99.
Back in the day
Brief history of Sizzler Restaurant
The Sizzler chain was founded in 1958. In the late 70s and early 80s, Sizzler featured steak and steak combination dinners. The salad bar was an optional add on. When Sizzler began receiving competition from other restaurants they add “all-you-can-eat” friend shrimp to their menu. Sizzler expanded the salad bar offerings and named it the “Buffet Court.” The higher priced steak and steak combinations were rejected in favor of the Buffet Court and profits dropped significantly.
Restart after bankruptcy
Sizzler management developed a new prototype design and report a year over year surge in sales since 2008. The refreshed Sizzler prototype features vibrant lighting, brighter colors, contemporary furniture and guest-directed dining. Sizzler is partnering with Tony Lufti, a proven restaurateur to develop five new restaurants in the San Francisco area.
My recent dining experience
Last week I went to Sizzler for the first time in eight years. I stepped into the newly designed restaurant with no expectations. The first thing I noticed was that the prices had almost tripled. The Endless Salad Bar is now $16 per person. There were subtle but favorable changes in the ambience. The restaurant was packed as it had been in the past. The food on the salad bar was plentiful and fresh. The cheese bread is just as good as it was 30 years ago. My cousin ordered a sirloin burger and fries. Obviously there are fewer servers because we had to look around and flag one down for service. When we needed a takeout container I had to get the manager to send our server to the table. So much for guest-directed dining.
I received an email requesting that I take down the Sizzler menu because it was for Australia! Wow! Someone from Sizzler is obviously patroling to see what people are saying. I'm sure all companies do this to some degree. Possibly the United States prices are less than Australian prices. I am shocked but glad that companies care about our reviews!