Noted “yes, those are breasts” restaurant chain Hooters is exploring a bold new direction that plunks tiny orange shorts lower on the priority list. It also comes with an agreeably silly name.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Hooters is trotting out a scaled down version of its restaurant called Hoots that will open in Cicero, Illinois in February 2017. The reimagined take on the place is slated to offer a single page menu designed as a fast casual option. Chicken wings will make the leap to the rookie location, but the revealing uniforms won’t be coming with. According to spokesperson Lizz Harmon, the chain’s trademark brand of wardrobe isn’t part of their server set-up at Hoots. Male servers are also welcome in this midwestern experiment.
Hooters flirting with image rebranding is nothing new. For example, a “family-friendly” shift was discussed in 2013, but it’d be generous to say the company’s been looked at differently since. Leaning hard into the food side of their operation is certainly a daring way for a theme restaurant based on ogling to go. It’s not unlike Planet Hollywood chucking all their Arnold stuff out in the mid 90s because they wanted the public to appreciate their salads.
The success or failure of Hoots in Illinois will be fascinating to analyze. The data might also prove inconclusive. The Times description of the eatery notes Hoots is “2,800 square feet, with 75 seats and a full-service bar.” The expectation is that a lot of traffic will come from counter service, but will that be the case? Are customers attracted to Hooters for the concept or the wings? We may have our answer. Heck, that answer may completely change the dynamic of the chain’s work force.
(Via Tampa Bay Times)