In an effort to appeal to more women, Hooters has decided it needs a little lift.
According to a Time business article, the United States’ best-known chain of “breastaurants” has announced a five-year plan to update its image across all of its 400-plus locations.
Salads and burgers will round out an expanded menu, and as many as 25 restaurants will be renovated each year.
The company has also enlisted football commentator and former coach Jon Gruden to appear in forthcoming ads along with the tag line “Feed the dream” in place of “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” (maybe we’re splitting hairs, but “yet” seems to be the wrong conjunction).
Never mind the fact that Mr. Gruden isn’t the most obvious woman bait, the company’s makeover risks alienating its core customer: men whose mouths water at the mere sight of cleavage, er, honey barbecue wings.
At nearly 30 years old, Hooters’ recent challenge has been the proliferation of racy quick-service restaurants such as the Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks.
To be sure, Hooters is not ditching its sexist slant. The first series of commercials (directed by Eastbound & Down’s Jody Hill) feature devil and angel owl finger puppets. In one, they appear on the shoulders of a lifeguard supervising an elderly aquafit class complete with a cellulite close-up. Advantage: devil owl. The ad then cuts to the lifeguard at Hooters, sandwiched between two buxom beauties.
There’s also a behind the scenes video – which is basically an excuse to show the women acting coy with a few seconds capturing the average Joe owl actors in their special effects green body stockings for comic relief.
Chief executive officer Terry Marks is quoted in Nation’s Restaurant News describing brand awareness as “among the best” before adding, “but the food had not kept pace over time. We had real opportunities with the food and the Hooters Girls’ hospitality.”
To be clear, the hospitality part refers to a new team effort strategy among the servers, not new customer perks. But if Hooters is betting on salad to get women in the door, then we now know where the real boobs can be found: in the corporate office.