Sizzler is a restaurant chain that was founded in 1958 as a steakhouse offering affordable steak dinners. While it still offers steak, it has expanded its service to include other foods such as tacos, seafood, soups as well as a variety of different salads.
The chain now has over 270 locations throughout the country, though it retains its heavy presence on the West Coast. In addition, it has expanded its franchise to several countries outside of the US, such as Japan, Australia and China. Although the chain has experienced some financial difficulties along the years, it remains one of the nation’s premier casual dining and buffet chains.
Sizzler was founded by Del and Helen Johnson in Culver City, California as Del’s Sizzler Family Steak House. Their aim was to create a budget steakhouse — a food chain that offered a restaurant feel with affordable prices. Initially, the menu was simple and consisted of a choice between two different steaks, a side salad and bread rolls.
In the 1960s, the chain expanded within the Los Angeles area to include a couple of more restaurants. Also, the self-service concept turned into the ‘Sizzler Service’ concept, a combination between self-service and table service. Throughout the 1970s the restaurant’s concept spread and competing restaurants with the casual-dining experience began offering an expanded menu.
Due to pressure from competitors, the chain started offering a full buffet throughout the 1980s rather than just a salad bar. Foods included in the salad bar option was all-you-can-eat shrimp, hot appetisers, soups, as well as various deserts. This decreased sales of other items on the menu as customers began selecting only the all-you-can-eat option.
In recent years, Sizzler has continued to modify its service and dining style to suit the needs of its customers. It is still one of the country’s major casual dining providers offering good value for its food. Recently, it has also started meeting the Healthy Dining requirements for nearly 20 of its menu items.
The restaurant offers a wide range of steaks, hamburgers and seafood ranging between $10 and $20. The value menu — which includes both an entree and an endless salad bar plate — is slightly more affordable with the most expensive item priced at about $16. The seafood items, including fresh salmon, unlimited shrimp and shrimp skewers, are all priced at $14 or less.
With its various lunch and dinner options, Sizzler offers a variety of affordable meals which cater to a range of different tastes. In addition, the Healthy Dining options — such as the fresh grilled salmon or the petite 6 oz. tri tip — are also an affordable way to enjoy a nutritious meal.
The service at the different chains is generally good and the waiters and waitresses are friendly and helpful. Overall, the most popular item is the salad buffet, though some customers are unhappy that the salad bar no longer includes shrimp and chicken wings. However, the steaks on the menu are reported as being of a much better quality than before.
Finally, the interior of the restaurant itself is pleasant and simplistic. On the whole, it is clean and well-kept. However, some chains have not refurbished their interior in recent years and some customers feel that the ambiance could be remodelled.