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]