Make the most of things before they’re gone

AS THE saying goes, we don’t miss things until they’re gone or we fear they are on their way out.

Sizzler is a case in point. The buffet joint famous for its cheese toast is set to close down its Cleveland store by the end of the year.

Since news of the closure started to spread, droves of customers have popped in for meals that remind them of their childhood and because they want their kids to have the experience too.

Sizzler started in California in 1958 and the first in Australia opened at Annerley in 1985. Most popular in the 1990s, their demise started a few years ago.

While Australian owners Collins Foods also owns KFC which continues to do well, the Sizzler stores have gradually become less popular, although they thrive in Asia. There are now just 13 Sizzlers around Australia, nine of those in Queensland.

However Collins Foods have applied to demolish the Sizzler site at Cleveland and replace it with a drive-through Taco Bell outlet. Currently the only Taco Bell in Australia, at Annerley, opened in November.

The company says they’re considering a number of new locations for future stores. Cleveland is just one. Depending on the process, Cleveland could be the second Queensland store or it may get pipped to the post by another restaurant opening.

Overall it seems that what families want from an eating out experience has largely changed since the 1990s. Mexican is in demand, and Taco Bell has its following from people familiar with the American-born brand – the first store opened in California in 1962. The company’s Australian Facebook page is littered with visitor’s posts asking for an outlet in a local suburb.

In the meantime, fans who have visited Sizzler regularly over the years or who just want to go for a little nostalgia are on notice for the expected closure of Cleveland’s store towards the end of the year.

For most of us, not being able to eat at a restaurant, perhaps where happy memories were made, is not going to have much of an impact. But the more serious message is that most of us fail to realise the true value of things until we don’t have them in our lives.

People who have gone through traumatic or near-death experiences will tell others to appreciate the simple things in life, to be grateful for what we have, to avoid thinking the grass is greener somewhere else and not to wait until we’ve lost someone before realising how much we took them for granted.