What remaining Sizzlers must do to survive

SIZZLER will be toast unless it can adapt to the new, fast-paced world consumers demand, a Griffith University lecturer has declared.

After more than 30 years in Australia, the once-popular family restaurant appears to be on its last legs.

Collins Foods Limited is reducing restaurant numbers as leases expire, according to its annual report.

Two restaurants closed in Australia during the last financial year, bringing the total to 12 and leading to a revenue fall of 8 per cent to $46.7 million.

Six Sizzler stores remain open in Queensland.

Griffith University marketing lecturer Charles Jebarajakirthy believes the chain can only retain customers if it provides what he calls an "immediate consumption" option for consumers.

"If they can open a drive-thru option, cater to healthy options and (continue to) cater to dine-in customers then they can survive," he said.

Dr Jebarajakirthy is researching the trends of on-the-go food consumption and its effect on the saturated fast-food market.

He found one in three people preferred "immediate consumption" options, typical fast-food.

"Customers have no time to go and dine in, they're moving consumers," he said

"They're looking for more convenient purchases.

"Nowadays, many fast-food retailers and coffee shops prefer drive-thru options."

Taco Bell, Collins Foods Limited's high-energy investment, services that market, Dr Jebarajakirthy said.

"If you take Taco Bell, it's a quick-service restaurant," he said.

"They are expanding and there are branches opening in Sydney.

"Their market share is expected to grow."

Five Taco Bell stores are operating and Collins Foods Limited expects to open nine more before the end of this financial year, including some in Victoria.

"Taco Bell will continue to introduce new, exciting and craveable products, focus on operational performance, and build and open further restaurants in Queensland as well as initial restaurants in Victoria," the company's annual report said.

THE REMAINING SIX SIZZLERS

  • Rockhampton
  • Maroochydore 
  • Caboolture 
  • Loganholme 
  • Mermaid Beach
  • Toowoomba 

 

Griffith University marketing lecturer Charles Jebarajakirthy.
Griffith University marketing lecturer Charles Jebarajakirthy.

Dr Jebarajakirthy said the shift to immediate consumption food had occurred over the past decade.

"The main reason is the time constraint and more people in the workforce," he said.

"People are working longer hours under more pressure and they're looking for easy options."

Sizzler needs to better identify its customers, Dr Jebarajakirthy said.

"They need to position, in a customer's mind, they are catering for a specific group... birthdays, Christmas parties or occasions," he said.

"They need to communicate better."

Collins Foods Limited declined to comment.