The Sizzler Effect

I’ve seen this happen before and I’m seeing it again. Once upon a time, Sizzler used to have actual seafood in its buffet choices.

The Sizzler Effect
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I've seen this happen before and I'm seeing it again. Once upon a time, Sizzler used to have actual seafood in its buffet choices. They also had some pretty decent lollies in their dessert bar. It was all good food, there were plenty of choices, and the cover charge for all of it was pretty decent.

When they stopped having actual seafood in the salad bar, it wasn't that big a deal. Everything else was still okay. My family enjoyed going and we felt like we were getting our money's worth.

Then the quality started to slide. Cheaper and cheaper ingredients kept sliding inwards. Choices declined. I know Sizzler's pretty much always had their Seafood Extender And Celery Salad, but the other stuff? The other stuff almost always includes one or more ingredients that are... not that nice.

I know there's a lot of the world who like capsicum (bell peppers to my US audience] and capers, and cilantro(aka coriander)... but all three together are the Ingredients of Suck for a lot of people. There's portions of the populace who have a gene that makes cilantro taste like soap. There's portions of the populace (like me) for whom capsicum is a 24-hour sentence of noxious gasses and intestinal upset. There are people who can't fucking stand capers. Toss that lot in with broccoli, and you have the four ingredients that almost everybody hates.

Three guesses which four always turn up in the Sizzler's "new items" to bring in the customers, and the next two aren't really necessary.

Sizzler's doesn't do soft-serve ice cream any more. They do soft serve ice confection that may or may not be made out of non-dairy creamer. I don't know about you, but I believe that ice cream should at least contain some cream. Foodie Rant over.

Anyway. Following on from Sizzler's state of decline is Sushi Train/Sushi Metro, and any one of the food-comes-to-you sushi places. Like Sizzler, they started with plenty of options and choices, including the price of the food per plate. Which was pretty fair considering some of the ingredients in there.


The choices have been dwindling, as have the ingredient options. More and more options include less and less variety.

I get it. More and more people are coming to Sushi Places because sushi is viewed as a healthy food. You gotta get that profit margin somehow. Plus european tastes tend to favour the dominant forms of sushi - fried chicken, california rolls, and the occasional curry.

Lots of mayonnaise there. Also, the dreaded seafood extender instead of actual seafood.

You can still get a little variety, but... it's variety piled on top of a california roll, some of it made out of what's clearly leftovers from other meal options.

I'm starting to not like going to Sushi Train any more, simply because of this.

Now that I've explained what the Sizzler Effect is... I have to analyse why.

You start with great ideas that will surely bring in vast amounts of customers. That's great. That's brilliant. But you gotta go one way or the other when the absolute hordes come in for a great deal and a lot of food.

One way - raise the prices and cut down on the customer inflow. Other way - keep the prices the same, but cut down on the ingredient variety or quality until some point of balance is achieved.

Now... late stage capitalism insists on getting the maximum amount of milk and not caring about the moo until the metaphorical cow evaporates from malnutrition and dehydration. That means minimum possible staff minus five, and minimum possible options given to the customers... minus twelve.

This is, of course, going to bite Sushi Train(etc) in the arse just as much as it bit Sizzler's in the butt. There will be an ever-reducing pool of people willing to go there, and an occasional pool of people willing to be fooled by new offers.

...then the next popular option will come along on a plethora of options platform and the whole cycle will start all over again.

Round and around it goes...