Food comes first
If you’re in the select group of humans that goes to Hooters just for the food, Hoots might be the place for you. Hoots is a new fast-casual restaurant opening in Chicago this week. It’s really just Hooters without the tight tops and cleavage. While it will provide wings, burgers, and beer, Hoots is cutting out the factor that Hooters is most famous for, which is strange, potentially risky business move.
The business-strategy is to open smaller restaurants with smaller menus that can therefore operate in smaller markets. A fundamental flaw seems to be that right now Hooters is primarily visited because of the scantily-clad waitresses, and without that element it seems unclear why their target demographic would choose the new chain.
Maybe there are people who do go to Hooters for the food, but that seems about equivalent to people “reading Playboy for the articles.”
One other change at Hoots is that rather than table service, you will order food and drinks at a counter. The cashiers will be clothed just like other fast food workers – in full.
What’s the point?
As someone who has only been to Hooters once, I am perhaps not qualified to say this new concept will be a complete flop, but it does seem like the chain is taking their primary selling point and scrapping it for this new concept.
It’s like if Taco Bell started a new chain of restaurants that aren’t open at midnight. It just doesn’t make sense.
In addition to reaching new, smaller markets Hoots aims to also be a more family-friend, less risque establishment. They’ll now be competing against Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s and more, which is a tough place to be in. While Hooters was also a competitor of these chains with a different selling point, Hoots is just a competitor without the name recognition.
“The Hoots smaller footprint lets us bring America’s favorite wings to more and smaller neighborhoods,” Hooters Management Corp.’s President and CEO Neil Kiefer, said in a post on Facebook.
Smaller neighborhoods is certainly an exciting opportunity for the company, but I don’t understand why they would change the concept to reach these new markets.
I suppose the deeper root of the new move is that Hooters is sexist and degrading, and for moving beyond that I commend Hoots.
However, perhaps even bigger than the problems with the fact that Hooters calls their staff “girls” regardless of age and consistently markets itself on cheap, hacky ideas, I just don’t think Hooters’ food is that good.
[clickToTweet tweet=”America proved that it doesn’t care about sexism but we do take a stand against sub-par dining” quote=”America has proved that it doesn’t necessarily care about sexism, but we do consistently take a stand against sub-par dining.”]
I shouldn’t bet against Hoots – I’m not their target demographic – but I wouldn’t encourage you to bet on it, either.