17 September 2010

Not all lessons take place in classrooms and tutorial rooms at The University of Queensland’s School of Tourism.

Almost 50 hospitality students gathered at Sizzler Toowong recently for a lecture with a difference and a spot of lunch from the salad bar.

The lunch on September 9 served as an introduction to Sizzler, before student groups began analysing the restaurant chain’s menu, market share, risks and service culture.

Students were also given a chance to ask questions of the chain’s Director of Marketing and Technical Services – and school Adjunct Professor – Jeremy Ryland.

Mr Ryland said the analysis would put students in his shoes and give them a chance to see how business decisions were made and strategies formed.

“It gets them to think about how the real world works and gets them to think about things from a management point of view,” Mr Ryland said.

While students gained an insight into different areas of operation and management, Sizzler also benefited from the project, with innovative new ideas from students.

Students from previous years had come up with a streamlined way to improve service and ideas to upgrade security, which Sizzler had since adopted.

Course co–ordinator Richard Robinson said it was important for hospitality students to get out of the classroom and have behind-the-scenes experiences.

“Almost everyone is familiar with Sizzler, but having access to its operations, management and strategy through a partnership with a senior manager like Jeremy provides students with insights that classroom
learning cannot deliver,” Mr Robinson said.

“Although at first glance a seemingly simple restaurant concept, these insights enable students to understand the food-service systems and business models that explain why Sizzler has enjoyed sustained growth in the Australian restaurant market.”

Media: Richard Robinson (0434 072 049)