When the 178-unit Sizzler chain was acquired last week in a management buyout by a team that included industry veteran Jim Collins, it seemed to him like a homecoming. Collins was there in 1958 when his friend Del Johnson opened the first Sizzler, a budget steak joint in Culver City, Calif., which offered 99-cent steaks and green salads. Collins, then a hamburger stand operator across the street, helped Johnson convert the space and loaned him equipment. In 1967, when Johnson was ready to ...

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