A long queue outside Sizzler marked the day the American chain closed all of its remaining buffet restaurants after 35 years in Australia.
The crowd of more than 30 people had gathered outside the Caboolture outlet, north of Brisbane, just before it opened its doors at 7am on Sunday for the last time.
The Morayfield Road restaurant in Moreton Bay was one of just nine remaining Sizzlers in Australia.
Collins Foods, which owns the rights to Sizzler in Australia, in early October announced its intention to close its operations in Queensland, western Sydney and Perth, blaming coronavirus for killing the buffet menu.
A long queue outside a Caboolture Sizzler, north of Brisbane, marked the day the American chain closed all of its remaining buffet restaurants after 35 years in Australia
Cheesy toast and a $19.95 Endless Salad Bar with 60 all-you-can eat choices, from pesto pasta to pumpkin soup, were no longer popular choices.
Sizzler restaurants that closed 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
Innaloo, northern Perth
Kelmscott, southern Perth
Morley, inner-north Perth
The long queue at Caboolture looked more like a case of nostalgia.
A Reddit image attracted 150 comments, reaffirming Collins Foods’ decision to close all of its Sizzlers in Australia.
One former customer said the all-you-can eat concept, that was popular during the 1980s and 1990s, didn’t work anymore.
‘I went the other day and I couldn’t believe how spectacularly bad the food was,’ one woman said.
‘I think nostalgia had made it a culinary experience in my memory.
‘We were hilariously disappointed, and we weren’t allowed serve ourselves at the salad bar, which is fair enough.’
Of the food, she said only the cheesy toast was worth the money.
‘The pasta was gross, I ate two bowls. And the cheese bread is still the crowning jewel,’ she said.
Another child of the 1990s said buffet eating, while a happy childhood memory, didn’t translate into a great adult dining experience.
‘Same thing happened with me but all-you-can-eat Pizza Hut, used to go a bit as a child and I thought it was the best place ever, as we all know majority of them shut down and I hadn’t been to one in over 15 years and found out there was one nearby so I had to relive some childhood memories,’ this adult said.
A Reddit image attracted 150 comments, reaffirming Collins Foods’ decision to close all of its Sizzlers in Australia. One former customer said the all-you-can eat concept, that was popular during the 1980s and 1990s, didn’t work anymore
‘Let’s just say I never ate there again – funny how as children we don’t really notice how horrible food quality is unless it was high standard in the 90s.’
Hygiene concerns sparked by the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the decline with Collins Foods telling the Australian Securities Exchange in October: ‘Sizzler has been hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic’.
Unlike Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell, which Collins Foods also has the rights to in Australia, Sizzler revenue and earnings were ‘slow to recover from peak COVID-19 impacts, and the overall Sizzler business has continued to operate at a loss since the onset of the crisis’.
Of the food, one woman said only the cheesy toast was worth the money
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.
As recently as 2015, Australia was home to 26 Sizzlers but as of today, the California restaurant chain now has zero outlets Down Under.
Buffet menus, once known as smorgasbords, are now something more likely to be seen as an RSL club or a cruise ship.
Another child of the 1990s said buffet eating, while a happy childhood memory, didn’t translate into a great adult dining experience. Pictured is a western Sydney Pizza Hut during the mid-1980s