Hooters, infamous home to big boobs and orange hot shorts, had a realization: Women are, like, half the population. And they eat too! The famous breastaurant chain is trying to attract more women so that they "aren't so quick to veto a meal there," according to Bloomberg Businessweek's Duane Stanford and Leslie Patton. Here's what they're adding to attract the ladies:
- More Lettuce: The old menu "drew yawns" from women. Now Hooters will have six salads instead of three, and mixed greens and spinach will replace boring old iceberg. Right now, the salads look pretty meat and cheese heavy.
- Fresher Meat: No, not younger waitresses. It means wings and hamburger patties will be fresh instead of frozen.
- Sophisticated Furniture: The "beach shack vibe" of restaurants will "evolve" into a more late-night friendly scene for 70 percent of U.S. locations, complete with street-level patio seating.
- Fancier Drinks: The move toward late-night also includes an expanded menu with cocktails and wine.
- Bigger Windows: “For those folks who are convinced there’s something to hide inside a Hooters, this new design should disabuse them of that notion," chief marketing officer Dave Henninger said.
That said, the boobs are here to stay. Hooters will still be a male haven, CEO Terry Marks assures Businessweek, but he wants wives and girlfriends to get on board. The chain hasn't been doing well compared to the rest of the industry, with their revenue dropping 3.4 percent last year as full-service restaurants increased 1.8 percent. “Face it, females are 51 percent of the population,” John Gordon, principal at Pacific Management Consulting Group told Businessweek. “They’ve enjoyed more employment growth, and you can’t ignore them.”
Who knows, maybe all that salad will work and Hooters will become a real suburban night out. We do know one woman who recently had a pleasant visit to Hooters: The Atlantic Wire's own Elspeth Reeve found herself liveblogging the first night of the Democratic National Convention from a Hooters. We asked her to share her impressions:
Due to some logistical struggles on the first night of the Democratic National Convention last week, I wandered through the streets of Charlotte in a thunderstorm in flats for like an hour searching for half-decent wireless. After failure at four Starbuckses and one yuppie bar, in desperation, I went to Hooters. Did they have wireless? The ladies in the orange short shorts stared for a second, nodded yes, took me in, gave me shelter from the storm, and unplugged a glowing Budweiser Platinum sign so I could charge my laptop. I was going to order a salad but all the salads were basically "one pound of cheese plus some lettuce on the side," so I had fries and an iced tea. The Hooters girls were very caring and asked if I was "having fun or working," which I mean, come on. One waitress even let me interview her after I heard her yell "I LOVE THE FIRST LADY." I will always be grateful for their kindness and forward-thinking technology policy.