Why Don't More Women Dine At Hooters?

The new leadership at Hooters — long deemed a restaurant for people who are afraid to be seen at a strip club, and who haven’t figured out it’s cheaper to just eat at home and watch cable TV — says it’s tired of being a mostly-men joint and wants to make the eatery more appealing to those not drawn in by the allure of women wearing tight T-shirts.

So what’s keeping women away from Hooters? Writes Bloomberg News:

When Chief Executive Officer Terry Marks was hired last year to make over the chain, he found women also were steering clear because the menu was stale, the restaurants were dated and the food was overpriced.

But Marks thinks he can get more female diners in the door — all while maintaining the chain’s traditional dress.

“There’s an opportunity to broaden the net without putting wool sweaters on the Hooters girls,” he tells Bloomberg. “Everything we do should appeal more to women, but nothing we will do will turn men off.”

First up for Marks has been improving the menu at Chez Hooters. The hot wings, which have long been just about every guy’s non-boob-related excuse for eating there, are now made from fresh chicken, and the hamburger patties are no longer frozen.

For people who think that eating salads at a chain restaurant is at all a good thing for your diet, Hooters has doubled the number of salads to six. Gone is the iceberg lettuce; replaced by mixed greens and stuff that you’d get at something that doesn’t fall into the category of “breastaurant.”

The chain also wants to brighten up the Hooters aesthetic, by having outdoor seating areas and patios. It would rather be thought of as a beach shack-type restaurant than a dimly lit, dark wood man cave.

“There is nothing to hide,” the company’s Chief Marketing Officer explains. “For those folks who are convinced there’s something to hide inside a Hooters, this new design should disabuse them of that notion.”

Finally, Hooters wants to be thought of as a place for friends of all genders to hang out and mingle. So some of the back-of-the-restaurant bars will be relocated to front-and-center, surrounded by seating so as to make the section into a mini club of sorts. Additionally, some restaurants are adding more wine and booze to their bars and staying open until 2 a.m.

Which makes sense to us. We can think of any number of bars with bartenders and servers dressed in more revealing outfits than the women at Hooters, and it never seems to put female drinkers off. Of course, these bars and clubs often don’t have the stigma of silly breast-centric names.

Hooters Looks to Catch Wife’s Eye as Tight Shorts Rule [Bloomberg via ajc.com]

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  1. etz says:

    Probably because the food is nasty. Everything about Hooters is kinda nasty. I wonder why so many people, men or women, eat there.

    • dangermike says:

      +1 to that. I love boobs even more than I love food, but the food is so atrociously bad at Hooters, I still don’t go there but maybe every few years. It’s seriously just canned slop heated up and shoved onto the table. And don’t get me started on how they mistreat beer. If it’s some garbage meant to be consumed faster than tasted, sure, by all means, do whatever necessary to keep as frigid and tasteless as possible. But if it’s a quality craft beer that’s just barely opened up after being frosted nearly to oblivion, don’t even think of sullying it further with a bag of ice.

    • daemonaquila says:

      Yup. I’ll happily ogle both good looking women and good looking men, but I’ll go ogle where the food is decent. Great breasts don’t make up for an otherwise disgusting restaurant.

  2. bluline says:

    I dunno. Maybe because the food sucks?

    • ArizonaGeek says:

      I came in to say this. Terrible food and overpriced, terrible beer. Better beer selection at Tilted Kilt and better food.

      • dangermike says:

        Agree, and would like to point out that the “better food” is still a long shot from “decently priced and high quality meal.” Although it is clear neither establishment exists as an expression the culinary arts, I’d at least rate the Tilted Kilt’s food as passable. I also thought their eye candy was better when my friend in Phoenix took me to each on concurrent nights last time I was there.

      • SmokeyBacon says:

        Oh, I have to disagree on the food part – I thought it was awful. Maybe it depends on which Tilted Kilt you go to.

  3. awesome anna says:

    My boyfriend loves big boobs. Loves staring at girls with big boobs. Does this bother me, not really. Cause he does it on his own time, but do I want to go to a restaurant with him where he’ll be staring at big boobs the whole time instead of focusing on me, no, not at all. That’s why I, as a female, won’t go to this place. That’s just my choice. I see no appeal to it at all and there are plenty of other places that have much better food and atmosphere.

    • eccsame says:

      sounds like what you need is some implants, not to avoid Hooters.

      • awesome anna says:

        hahah we’re working on it! They’re expensive. lololol and whether or not you meant that as a jab, I don’t really care.

        • goodfellow_puck says:

          Ehhh, unless you are polyamorus or something similar, it sounds like you need a new boyfriend, not the low self-esteem about your boobs.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Agreed. I think the root problem is the guy who enjoys staring at other women but the girlfrind thinks it’s “okay” because it’s on his own time.

            • lyontaymer30 says:

              If you expect a man to not stare at other women, that’s unrealistic. My girl doesn’t care if I stare, even though when I’m with her, I make a major effort not to out of respect for her. But she doesn’t care as long as I don’t touch or act on it. She’ll actually point out things for me to watch. “Look at her chest, you like those don’t you?” Or “Look at her ass, you’re the one that likes those huge asses”. She actually likes hooters, I don’t because I think their menu leaves alot to be desired.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                It’s one thing to be human and just notice things. I notice when I see an attractive guy. It’s just being human. But something about a person “enjoying” staring at big boobs is just kind of crass to me.

            • bityard says:

              Just as not all men are wife-beaters, neither are all women jealous control freaks.

              My wife told me a long time ago that I was allowed to “look but don’t touch.” It goes the other way too, she occasionally tells me which male stars in TV or movies she considers “yummy.”

          • awesome anna says:

            I don’t have low self-esteem, I’m just poor. Regardless of the boyfriend, if I had the money they’d be already taken care of LOL and to Pecan below.. plenty of men (and women) stare at other women and men.. so it’s not really an issue. But do I want to be eating while he’s actively staring, probably not. And he’d feel the same way if we were at a place where the men were in banana hammocks and I was staring and drooling. He doesn’t have low self-esteem about his junk, but I’m sure he wouldn’t want to see me staring hungrily at someone elses lolol

            • HogwartsProfessor says:

              If you’re thinking about saving up for implants (and a better option would be retirement, really), then know that you will also need to save for replacement implants. Almost everyone that gets them needs to have them replaced at some point.

              Seriously, it’s a huge waste of money.

      • deniseb says:

        Yeah, and her boyfriend probably needs to have some big plastic bags sewn into his testicles.

        • awesome anna says:

          They’re already pretty big, thanks.. besides how did this come to be about me and the bf? rofl sounds like some of you have issues with the fact that some men like big boobs and that I pointed out my bf happens to be one of those.

      • bluline says:

        I much prefer smaller boobs. Implants are the worst.

  4. RayanneGraff says:

    Is this a question that really needs to be asked? Lets open a restaurant named “Acorns” & staff it with hot guys wearing nothing but tight booty shorts & smiles. Then lets wonder why hardly any guys go eat there.

    Lets be honest- Hooters is very clearly a MENS restaurant. Hiring nothing but hot chicks & making them wear very revealing outfits doesn’t exactly send the message that they’re trying to attract female customers. I don’t personally enjoy watching other women being objectified & ogled, hence why I don’t patronize Hooters. Its not something I like to see while I’m eating dinner & I have a feeling that many other women probably feel the same way.

    • Kuri says:

      I’m a guy and I wouldn’t ever eat there due to the reverse situation you presented.

      I remember seeing a one panel cartoon of a couple sitting at a restaurant. The server was a muscled blonde guy wearing a shirt that said “Cocks” on it and his shorts were…. stuffed, and the lady at the table was smiling and talking to the server while her boyfriend was looking pissed.

    • samonela says:

      Just as an aside…best username ever!

    • eezy-peezy says:

      How about “Bananas”? And the guy waiters could wear banana hammocks.

    • Draw2much says:

      This is pretty much how I feel too.

      I also would not go to any restaurant that basically sexually objectifies it waitstaff. That just.. no. No. Even if it were hot guys I wouldn’t go. I have moral objections to that kind of thing. :(

    • cantiloon says:

      You probably haven’t been to one in many years, but let’s just say they standards aren’t what they used to be. At least in the Midwest ones I’ve been to. Big boobs and general attractiveness are no longer requirements. There’s one out here, but I’ve never been in the almost five years I’ve been here because the wings are awful (who wants that flap part of the wing anyway – there’s no meat on it!) and beer selection is similarly bad.

      Those shorts actually make the booty look worse. They need to get into the modern era and go to yoga pants or just regular short shorts.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Or, they can wear squirrel costumes and attract the furries.

  5. SavijMuhdrox says:

    I think their chicken wings are delicious.

    • tooki says:

      Then you’ve never been somewhere that does buffalo wings really, really well. Hooters wings in USA aren’t bad, but they’re far from the best. (Hooters wings here in Switzerland are pathetic little wings so small I think they cut them off the birds as they hatch.) At least until the changes described in the article go into effect, Hooters wings are from frozen chicken and frozen sauce (it comes in little patties like red butter, at least here in Switzerland!). Real buffalo wings are not breaded, should be dry-rubbed or marinated before frying and the sauce should be a reasonably freshly made mix of Louisiana hot sauce, vinegar, and butter.

    • bityard says:

      I’ve only had Hooter’s wings once about a decade ago. But if I recall correctly, the recipe goes something like this:

      1. Bake a bag of frozen breaded chicken wings in oven until cooked
      2. Drown wings in Frank’s Hot Sauce

      Serve with a side of ranch dressing and celery sticks.

  6. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    I would not be offended if my server at Hooters was male, shirtless and wearing a pair of Speedos.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “When Chief Executive Officer Terry Marks was hired last year to make over the chain, he found women also were steering clear because the menu was stale, the restaurants were dated and the food was overpriced.”

    …no, I’m going to guess it’s pretty much because it’s staffed with nothing but tarts in hotpants.

    Maybe you could do something to draw in more lesbians…dunno. Not a lesbian. But, I can safely say that the tarts in hotpants are pretty much the reason why straight women as a rule don’t go there.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      I’m a lesbian, and I have no interest in eating there, either. They should stick to men.

      • pamelad says:

        I’m not a lesbian, but I found the girlies at Hooter’s in our shared home state so cute! They didn’t seem to mind their call to cuteness. They were all adorable. The food, however, was dismal.

        PamelaD, Tucson, AZ

    • who? says:

      I don’t know of a single lesbian who’s ever been to hooters, or would ever want to, for that matter. That big boob and tight t-shirt scene is totally a guy thing. And apparently, what straight guys think is a lesbian thing, but really isn’t.

      • euph_22 says:

        There are many things that straight guys think of as lesbian things that aren’t.

        But yeah, I don’t think they will get very far trying to attract women (any women) to hooters.

    • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

      I am a straight female and used to enjoy going to Tilted Kilt when there was one near me. It’s the same concept, but it seemed to have better food and a better atmosphere. Those are the biggest reasons I won’t go to Hooters.

  8. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Half the reason guys go to Hooters in the first place is because it’s a bar/grill type place that has sports on TV but, unlike every other faux-dive place in town, doesn’t have tables full of cackling girls-night-out broads who think they’re being “crazy” and who think they’re getting drunk on watered down oh-so-yummy $9 frozen margaritas.

  9. yankinwaoz says:

    Tilted Kilt has better food, and is more fun. I see heaps of women customers there.

    • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

      That’s what I came here to say. Maybe if Hooters does clean up their restaurants and offer better/value food I’d enjoy going.

  10. who? says:

    Hooters has food?

  11. Mary Beth Quirk says:

    I once ate at a Hooters situated inside a casino in Atlantic City and cried the whole time.

  12. Emperor Norton I says:

    Because their receipt would have “Cuntz” for their name!

  13. MrEvil says:

    If you think the Server uniforms at Hooters are revealing, you’ve clearly never been to Bikinis or Twin peaks.

    • parliboy says:

      I must say… I do pride myself on, when circumstances have taken me to Bikinis, being able to look the chilly young lass in the eye.

  14. Bor&Mitch says:

    Maybe it has nothing to do with the food or the girls. Maybe more women don’t go there because it’s full of groups of guys that are there specifically to oogle at women’s breasts.

    • dangermike says:

      I can’t be the only one who thinks the costumes at hooters just aren’t very flattering. Their style scraems 70′s roller disco, and being a child of the 80′s, anything reminscent of the brown and orange decade is inherently uncool. Also, while shapely figures are usually flattered by tight clothing, in this case, the lack of jiggle and cleavage just make all too clinical and boring. I feel like I’m looking at mannequins.

  15. rookie says:

    i go to hooters for the articles, i never look at the pictures…

  16. canadianviking says:

    I am a woman, and I ate at Hooters once, with another woman. It was a hot day, we were on the patio and we got into a chat with our waitress. She told me they weren’t allowed to put their hair in pony tails and they had to wear the stupid thick nude colour tights. I felt terrible for her. I don’t mind servers in sexy outfits, but I don’t see what’s sexy about these girls wearing ridiculously outdated and impractical outfits with arbitrary rules that make everyone uncomfortable. Bare legs, hair up, microfibre shorts…would that be so much less sexy than what they wear now?

    • Geekybiker says:

      Pretty much the less comfortable it is, the more sexy it is. Kind of like the worse a food is for you, the better it tastes.

  17. spartan says:

    Perhaps they should look into opening up a chain that caters to women diners. Perhaps a more frou-frou menu and a different chick-flick on each big stream. Hire only studly waiters and put them in skimpy outfits.

    Instead of an owl mascot; they could use the rooster theme.

    And in honor of the rooster, they should call the place Peckers.

  18. triana says:

    Most women don’t want to watch their guys stare at the staff, and if we’re going out with the girls, we’re not exactly going to be drawn in by the eye candy there.

    • daemonaquila says:

      Nah, some of us just demand higher quality. My lad and I (or girlfriends and I) go to a local NON-chain that caters to the ogling crowd, but it has fabulous pub grub and drinks, and there’s crazy-good people watching on their balcony. I appreciate their eye candy as much as the guys do, and the women who work there (unlike Hooters, Twin Peaks, etc.) have brains and a personality.

  19. Dirk Daring says:

    It’s not just the tight shirts. The bottoms are hot as nuts too!

  20. Extended-Warranty says:

    If you ask me, they are barking up the completely wrong tree. It needs to be relevant again for guys to go to.

  21. quail20 says:

    When I first discovered Hooters it was the late 80s. The chain hadn’t broken out of Florida yet. And the clothes the wait staff wore were strategically ripped and were one size too small. (What they wear now is tame compared to then.) The food was slightly overpriced compared to outrageously overpriced. But it did taste OK. Last time I visited a Hooters, it was worse than a Happy Meal and almost the same portion size. That was maybe 8 years ago when I last ate at one.

    I doubt they can crawl out from their slump without improving the food quality vs. the price.

  22. Cam says:

    CEO Terry Marks, must have a wife whispering in his ear about running hooters.
    It is not supposed to be a “place for friends of all genders to hang out and mingle”
    It is supposed to be a temporary refuge from all those places.
    Most wives that would flip out about a gentleman’s club, are less objecting to a guy’s night out a hooters.

  23. SoCalGNX says:

    Because the food is substandard and the place is full of drunken idiots.

  24. shepd says:

    Well, could it be because hooters isn’t a good place to breastfeed your children?

    You know, being that men are there to stare at hooters?

    /me kids, really

  25. parabola101 says:

    Hummm Yeah… and then their alarm clock went off…

  26. NorthAlabama says:

    ok, let’s think this through…they call themselves hooters, they hire young ladies as servers who wear tight t’shirts with push up bras, the food is less than sub-par compared to similarly priced competitors (except for the wing, i hear they’re ok), and inside the theme is a cross between a sports bar and a hay barn.

    why wouldn’t women in evey town be lined down the street waiting to get in???

  27. oldwiz65 says:

    Very few respectable women will ever go to Hooters, period.

  28. JollySith says:

    Good for them. It won’t just bring in more women, it will bring in more people all around. I am a straight male who has eaten at a hooters exactly twice. I have no problem with scantily clad waitresses, or “breast-centric” names. But, I am not so desperate to see a young girl in tight skimpy clothes that I will choose to spend my money in a dark dirty restaurant, with crappy food and a half-ass bar. Both times I went to a hooters I left hungry and unhappy.

  29. SmokeyBacon says:

    Ok, as a girl I have to say that the reason I don’t go is the food just isn’t that good and it is way overpriced. The boob thing doesn’t bother me – what bothers me is the boob-based restaurants I have been to (Hooters, Tilted Kilt) have crappy food and the girls can be really bitchy (at least to other girls – which is extremely dumb, especially if the girl is there with a guy, like I usually am, because if you are bitch to me and flitry with my boyfriend, I am making sure that you get a tiny tip for the crappy service). I wouldn’t work there, it just isn’t my thing, but if they can use their “assets” to get bigger tips then more power to them. There is another of the boob-based restaurants I would try because I have heard the food is great (except I can’t remember the name – Brickhouse or something like that), but it just isn’t that close to me. Honestly as a woman good food at a decent price in a clean restaurant with good service is really what is going to bring me back. To me Hooters is kind of a competitor to Buffalo Wildwings in terms of type of food, and Buffalo Wildwings is more worth the money because it just tastes better, and the service has always been better for me there too.

  30. Celticlady says:

    Why I will never go BACK to a Hooters….

    My husband had a coupon and to be fair the wings are ok. Not fabulous, but OK.

    We go early in the middle of the week with our daughter (13….save you comments she thought they looked stupid and couldn’t understand why they weren’t allowed to put on clothes.)
    Anyway, she orders a frozen lemonade. Nothing wild, just a frozen lemonade. There was no price on the menu, so I guess this is partly on us, but to be fair, we have ordered them at other chains.

    She has a second one….We get the bill..each one of the Frozen Lemonade……WAS $9.50!

    They are usually in the $3 to $5 range.
    WHAT?

    I ask about it and discover there is ‘no manager on duty and (insert several insipid giggles) she doesn’t knooow…

    We pay, give her a tip that matches her clothes and I call Hooters….big surprise, no response.

    Yeah, I can’t imagine hanging out there. Yeah, the bartender in our local watering hole wears some small clothes occaisionally, but she doesn’t rip us off….

  31. bonzombiekitty says:

    I really don’t like Hooters. I don’t think the food is atrocious, it’s OK, but certainly not OK enough to pay anything near what they are asking for it.

  32. glopezz05 says:

    “When Chief Executive Officer Terry Marks was hired last year to make over the chain, he found women also were steering clear because the menu was stale, the restaurants were dated and the food was overpriced.”

    Yeah… THATS why women stay away. Maybe if the waitresses weren’t always sticking their tits in my face, trying to get me to buy crap calendars and what not, I’d go eat there more often. I love their buffalo chicken sandwich.

    • quieterhue says:

      Actually I disagree. At my local Hooters, the waitresses are extremely polite and friendly. If anything, I avoid Hooters for exactly the reasons cited by the new CEO. Plus it can get very loud on Friday/Saturday nights and I hate loud restaurants.

      I think the changes they are suggesting are good ones. There is another restaurant nearby that’s similar to Hooters but has more of an Irish Pub theme and it feels much more fresh and hip. They have more of a bar atmosphere and more interesting food, and I think that helps them bring in a younger, hipper crowd.

      • SJActress says:

        I agree. The CEO was recently on an episode of Undercover Boss. He has two little girls, and is not a total monster. I think a lot of this new stuff came from his experience on that show. He went out into the street with a couple of waitresses (with free wing samples) and really listened to what a lot of the people said about the restaurants. It was interesting, and I’m glad to see they’re responding to the feedback.

  33. kataisa says:

    So what’s keeping women away from Hooters?

    Seriously? I mean, like, for reals?

  34. daemonaquila says:

    Hmmm… let me think. (1) The waitresses at Mad Dog’s wear mini-kilts, combat boots, and weapons, and are MUCH nicer to look at and more interesting to talk to than generic blondies with big breasts in ugly orange nylon shorts and cheap t-shirts, and (2) the food is HORRIBLE. Yeah, that’s about it. No mystery.

  35. MBZ321 says:

    I always wondered why they never (or someone else) started a restaurant chain targeted for women. You know…attractive, shirtless guys serving up grilled chicken salads and cosmos, and all that crap.

    • Snapdragon says:

      “grilled chicken salads and cosmos”–OK, dead from laughter; it just struck me as hilarious. (I’d go there, but not necessarily for the guys.)

  36. perruptor says:

    “There is nothing to hide,” the company’s Chief Marketing Officer explains.

    So, they’ve eliminated all the waitress outfits completely? That’s bound to appeal to more women …

    • Smiling says:

      As a women, I honestly don’t feel they are that bad. They are shorts and a tank top with panty hose. Most of the girls at our Hooters look like teen-aged girls and don’t really have great racks.

  37. GandyDancer says:

    No matter what the new leadership may say, all they want to do is stay abreast of the competition.

  38. jp7570-1 says:

    Actually, about 15 years ago, there was a restaurant in Fort Worth (TX) that tried to do exactly this. It was not associated with Hooters as far as I know. It was a place with male servers in tight shorts and shirts (not shirtless as another poster suggested). I believe it was called Roosters (as in cock-a-doodle-do!) and offered a similar menu.

    Roosters didn’t seem to be in business here very long. Not sure if it was a one-off or part of a chain, but it seemed to miss the mark.

  39. Smiling says:

    That is an easy question to answer. They have very, very average food. Men will eat the average food to see the women and get flirted with (they don’t flirt when women are there with the men.) But, there is nothing interesting to compel women to eat extremely ordinary food.

  40. ecvogel says:

    I went there for a friends batchlor party and the table ordered the dry rub wings. Never in my life has this happened. Within 10 min my stomach was churning prepping for the runs. I never went back. I do not care about the looks, they were fine. They serve bottom of the barrow food for higher end food prices. Do not have any intentions of going back.

  41. ganon446 says:

    All the women at my job and even mother loves Hooters and often talk about “hooterizing” every single day.

    Even my attempts at telling people the true story that the Hooters in Downtown Chicago is literally haunted because dead people where stored there by body snatchers (True story) often goes ignored.