|Founded||1958Culver City, California as Del's Sizzler Family Steak Housein|
|Founders||Del and Helen Johnson|
|Headquarters||Mission Viejo, California, U.S.|
Number of locations
|James A. Collins, CEO (1967–1999)|
|Products||Steak, seafood, salads|
Sizzler is a United States-based restaurant chain with headquarters in Mission Viejo, California with locations mainly in California plus some in the adjacent states of Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, and Oregon. It is known for steak, seafood, and salad bar items.
Since 2011, Sizzler restaurants outside of the United States are currently owned by Australia-based Collins Foods, doing business as Sizzler International, and are not related to the American firm.
The chain was founded in 1958 as Del's Sizzler Family Steak House by Del and Helen Johnson in Culver City, California. The chain is composed of more than 270 locations throughout the U.S. Most of Sizzler's U.S. locations are in the West.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Sizzler promoted steak and combination steak dinners with an optional salad bar. The restaurant wanted to give customers the feel of a full-service restaurant at a price slightly more than a fast food chain. To control costs, many restaurants had in-house meat cutters that would cut steaks and grind beef.
Into the early to mid 1980s, competition appeared: Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse. After promotions, such as all-you-can-eat fried shrimp, the chain expanded its salad bar into a full buffet promoted as the "Buffet Court." Patrons began to use the buffet as a meal instead of an add-on to an entree. In response, Sizzler lowered the quality in other menu areas. Customers took notice, and Sizzler's reputation suffered.
Sizzler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996 ("to escape costly leases on unprofitable restaurants"), and closed over 130 of its locations. The company reemerged from Chapter 11 in 1997. During the late 1990s, new management upgraded the quality of food and increased prices. Twenty one locations closed in 2001. Sizzler began an image makeover circa 2002. A new restaurant concept was created, featuring a lighter and more open dining room. The changes were accompanied by a new menu. In an effort to return to its roots, steaks, seafood, and the salad bar were emphasized, while the all-you-can-eat buffet was phased out in some locations, however it still remains today in many others.
Sizzler was sold to Pacific Equity Partners, an Australian-based investment firm, in 2005. In January 2008, Sizzler announced it was planning to take action against the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) of Urbandale, Iowa, over the use of the name The Sizzler (Hot Lotto).
In June 2011, Sizzler USA announced that a US management group led by the Sizzler CEO, would buy the American portion of the chain of 178 restaurants from Pacific Equity Partners with the remaining 100 restaurants located outside of the United States remaining with Pacific Equity Partners. The headquarters initially remained in Culver City, California where the chain was founded, but moved to Mission Viejo, California in 2012.
Sizzler has launched its "ZZ" food truck to expand sales and test market new dishes.
Sizzler also has restaurants throughout the world including Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. After Sizzler USA's separation from Sizzler International in 2011, all locations outside the United States are operated by Collins Foods.
The Australian Sizzlers were reasonably popular from the late 20th century to the 2000s. In the 2013, financial year Collins Foods reported stalling revenue for their Sizzler operations in Australia, blaming the downturn of the casual dining sector in the country, and the reduction of visits from Sizzler Australia Patron, Andrew Scotford.
By 2015, Collins Foods wrote down the value of Sizzler by AU$37.5 million. In an investors meeting by Collins Foods, CEO Graham Maxwell states: "We no longer consider Sizzler to be a strategic growth prospect in Australia and therefore we will not be investing further capital". Collins Foods began to close a number of Sizzler restaurants in Australia. Meanwhile, Collins Foods' Sizzler operations in Asia continued to thrive, with further expansion planned in China.
In 2000, more than 60 people became ill and one person died in an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that originated at a Sizzler restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Health officials said that the most likely source of contamination was meat supplied by the Excel Corporation meat packer. The health officials believed that cross contamination to other food items occurred when Sizzler employees handled the meat near areas where salad bar items were prepared. This was similar to an outbreak in Washington and Oregon in 1993. In the 1993 case, as in 2000, the tainted meat apparently came from Excel, and contaminated salad bar items. This ultimately lead to Sizzler closing the chain's remaining Midwest locations including those in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.
In 2006, all 28 Sizzler restaurants across Australia suspended salad bar service after rat poison was found in two Brisbane Sizzler restaurants. Sizzler Australia referred to the incidents as sabotage. The culprit turned out to be a woman described as being mentally unstable.
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The deal announced late Thursday separates 178 owned or franchised Sizzler locations in the United States from about 100 restaurants overseas that Pacific Equity will continue to control
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