Sizzler in Toowong Isn’t the End of It: Why Collins Foods Keep Shutting Down its Sizzler Branches

After 30 years, Toowong residents got the shock of their lives in November 2016 when Sizzler at Toowong Village released an announcement that it will be closing its doors.

Photo credit: Quest Community News
Photo credit: Quest Community News

The closure drew mixed reactions. A customer who has been very loyal to the Sizzler branch and has dined there every day for years said, “It’s very sad. It’s fantastic value.” The management also thanked their customers for their patronage over the last three decades.

Collins Foods, owner of Sizzler, released a statement about their decision to shut down the Toowong branch, “We recognise that all employees and management at Sizzler Toowong have worked very hard to make this restaurant a great place for our customers,” a spokeswoman from the company said. Showing their appreciation, the management provided job opportunities for their Toowong employees at other Sizzler branches.

Five months after the Toowong branch closed, Collins Foods announced that it would also shut down its branches at Brookside and in Kogarah. The future of other Sizzler branches are now uncertain, particularly the one in Annerley. Last year, a development application was submitted to the Brisbane City Council for a new fast-food restaurant with a drive-thru at the Annerley site. The application notes that it will retain the KFC in the area, but Sizzler would be removed.

When asked about this, a Sizzler spokeswoman said, “Collins Foods Limited is reviewing the best usage of its Annerley Sizzler restaurant site and is working with Council on this as part of its long-term business planning.”

With all the Sizzler closures that have been happening across Australia, people are starting to wonder if this is the end of the buffet-and-salad bar. Collins Foods addressed people’s qualms by providing reassurance that they have no plans to leave Australia, but made it clear that they are no longer investing in the Australia-based group. Instead, they plan to focus more on their branches all across Asia, which apparently, are booming.

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Upon the closure of the recently announced Sizzler branches, Australia will be left with only 16 Sizzlers with 11 branches in Queensland, one in NSW, and the rest in Sydney.

Sizzler has become a familiar sight all over Australia, serving buffet food with a salad bar that has become very popular. However, the excitement for such concept seems to be waning fast with the introduction of more creative food initiatives that are luring more people in by serving a wide variety of innovative, out-of-the-box food selections.

Better food initiatives that are more in tune with today’s market present a death sentence to established restaurants that have gotten stuck in the past and failed to innovate. Future Food’s managing director Francis Loughran said Sizzler was a brand from 30 years ago that stayed there.

“As we finalise our plans any proposed changes would be communicated with our team members and customers,” Sizzler’s spokeswoman said, speaking about the Annerley closure but foreshadowing the company’s position on the rest of the stores.

Can the remaining Sizzlers survive the changing culinary landscape and the vagaries of corporate priorities? It seems clear that Sizzler customers all over Australia will just have to wait and see.

Photo credit: orderinchaos/Wikimedia Commons