If there’s one restaurant chain that’s resorted to sex appeal in order to make money, it’s Hooters. The sports bar franchise boasts over 430 separate outlets around the world, in more than 28 other countries outside of the United States. There are Hooters restaurants in China, Brazil, The Philippines, Mexico, Germany and Switzerland, among others; and as time goes on, we can expect to see many more. In 2015, Hooters announced plans to open more than 30 restaurants in Southeast Asia over the next six years.
It’s fairly obvious why the franchise is so popular. As good as I’m sure the food is there, I think it’s less to do with the BBQ hot wings and pitchers of beer, and more to do with the scantily-clad staff that wait on customers day in, day out.
The Hooters uniform is arguably the whole reason that the brand is as fetishistic as it is iconic, and has attracted both appreciation and criticism over the years. Many believe that the whole concept of the franchise is inherently sexist and demeaning, but the outfit waitresses are contractually required to wear is firmly entrenched in the mind of the public. Anyone of a certain age can recognise it: the orange shorts, the white tank-top and the ugly socks and trainers.
Understandably, in more conservative cultures than the more sexually-liberated Western world, the Hooters uniform might be considered offensive, or even downright obscene – a tricky issue when you’re looking to expand your brand to far-away locations. It seems as though Hooters will now be forced to make an alteration to their uniform, making it a little bit more modest.