The idea of a “breastaurant” does not appeal to everyone. But the concept has thrived since 1983, when Hooters launched a restaurant chain combining basic bar food and waitresses clad in skimpy outfits. Other restaurants, with names like Twisted Kilt, Twin Peaks, and Mugs & Jugs, followed suit. But is the original breastaurant moving on?
In 2019, Hooters was sold to a new owner, who promptly opened a new restaurant outside of Chicago called Hoots. Hoots is a fast-casual concept and serves the most popular food from the original restaurant but with a modestly dressed, co-ed waitstaff. This not only gives all the guys who claim they only go to Hooters “for the wings” a chance to prove themselves, but also gives the chain a chance to attract a new audience. You can read more about Hoots and their plans to expand here.
When Hooters opened in 1983 the idea that women in short-shorts and shorter tops serving beer and wings would go out of style probably seemed unlikely. But times do change, which means brands need to change with them. A client told us that in 1988 she had to go to Hooters as part of a mandatory work event, not something you can imagine happening in the #MeToo era. The goal of Hoots is two-fold: capitalize on the ongoing success of the fast-casual format and expand the company’s addressable market – families, millennials and socially-conscious diners. All while not alienating their core, wings-loving customers.
It will be interesting to see how “Hoots” is received as the chain expands across the country. Will simply shortening the name and lengthening the shorts bring in the new audiences they’re looking for?
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