Confessions of a Hooters Waitress
From $100 tips to fending off ‘pervy’ men and dealing with angry wives – the truth about America’s ‘working class sorority’
A 23-year-old from Washington, DC, has opened up about what it is really like to work at Hooters, the restaurant chain famous for its scantily-clad waitresses.
Claire Burgess, unemployed and on her way to Tennessee, decided to apply for a job at Hooters after stopping in for beer and buffalo wings, where she found everyone to be ‘very friendly’.
In a candid essay for xoJane , Miss Burgess opens up about the uncomfortable uniforms, the big tips, the ‘pervy’ and angry men, and their — at times — even angrier wives.
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‘The customers are the best and worst part of the job,’ she writes, but it all depends on how they view the waitresses ‘as people’.
‘Most of the regulars were men, and some of them had a lot of money. It wasn’t unusual to receive a $100 tip on a Monday night after giving mediocre service to a couple of businessmen watching the football game.
And for regulars who come in every night, it is unofficial policy to tip $10 or more an hour for every hour they sit at a table, which Miss Burgess says adds up to around $50 by the end of the night.
‘For most, there was the unspoken exchange of money for some conversation and attention,’ she explains. ‘This is where Hooters really veers off and differs from your regular restaurants.
‘Coined “entertainers,” Hooter Girls are expected and encouraged to chat and hang around with customers, which can be truly awesome, and also horrifying depending on the customers you’re stuck with.’
Families, blue collar workers, and ‘down-on-their-luck’ men who are ‘angry at women and the world’ meant mediocre tips ‘at best’.
At worst, she says, the women are ‘foaming at the mouth with anger and misplaced resentment’ toward Hooters waitresses, and the men are ‘drunk and pervy’, either ‘staring into the depths of your cleavage,’ or ‘slipping their arms around your waist, or in worse places,’ Miss Burgess reveals.
And a word of warning to men: ‘You’re not going to get a date at Hooters,’ she says.
‘At the end of the night, most of us are throwing out handfuls of wadded up Post-its and napkins with phone numbers on them.’
Though the famous, tight orange spandex uniforms are ‘extremely unflattering’, Miss Burgess says there is an opportunity to make ‘much more than at your average restaurant, all in a laid-back and fun environment.’
‘In the time I worked at Hooters, all of the girls I worked with were either in school, raising families, helping out their relatives or just trying to make ends meet,’ she explains.
‘The other girls are truly the best perk of the job… I made lifelong friends working at Hooters that I never would have met anywhere else. We were a working class sorority: down to earth, fun-loving and crazy.’
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