Can a food truck whose name, menu and technology are completely different from those of the steakhouse chain behind it revitalize the parent restaurant’s brand? We’ll find out when Sizzler USA’s yet-to-be-named mobile venture—working title ZZ Truck—hits the streets with its Apple-based POS system later this month.
Company c.e.o. Kerry Kramp has kept busy after the recent management-led buyout of old-line steak concept Sizzler, working heroically to reinvigorate a tired brand. Plenty of savvy initiatives are under way, the latest being the pending debut of the chain’s first food truck.
The 24-foot-long custom-built vehicle will make its debut after it gets its official name. Currently, Sizzler is conducting an online poll on Facebook and Twitter that gives fans five choices:
• The Steak Lab
• K.O.W. (Kitchen On Wheels)
• Red, White & Moo
• Cruizzin’ Carnivore
• Steak On It!
The voting closes on Oct. 31. Kramp can hardly wait for the truck to get rolling once its name becomes final.
“It’s a fun way to reintroduce people to Sizzler,” he says of the project. “If they think we’re cool enough to do great food on a food truck, they may think we’re cool enough to check out our restaurants.”
Part of that cool is offering food that’s different from what’s available inside a standard Sizzler unit. But there’s a risk to the truck-only menu. If customers come to covet ZZ Truck items like tri-tip sliders, umami fries and other hipper-than-standard-Sizzler fare, they won’t be able to order any of it when they give a brick-and-mortar Sizzler a try.
The Sizzler truck hopes to be a little more tech savvy than its parent restaurant. Its social media strategy includes the now-standard Facebook and Twitter initiatives. In addition, ZZ Truck will be among the first to use an Apple-based point of sale system. It’s called ISISPOS, and runs on Apple iPads. This new system’s developers say the wireless system is particularly useful for food truck applications.
Sizzler is on the same page. It thinks slow-moving lines and long waits are the bane of some food truck operations, and the company means to pick up the pace for customers who visit its truck. The custom-built features of the truck’s interior are meant to enable faster prep and order turnaround, and the ISISPOS system is designed to speed ordering and payment. Sizzler is counting on these points of differentiation to help it succeed in the food truck game.
The larger purpose for ZZ Truck is to generate interest in the Sizzler brand, particularly among a social-media-aware demographic that seldom visits its restaurants now. You’d better believe that other restaurant operators whose brands are getting a little long in the tooth are watching the Sizzler food truck experiment closely. It’s worth copying if it works as Sizzler intends.