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Breastaurants Booming As The Restaurant Industry Struggles

tilted kilt

For many Americans, it’s becoming less appealing to take the time to sit down to an uninspiring pasta dish, a bland hamburger or a plate of once-frozen wings at a middle-brow restaurant chain.

But serve that burger with a side of cleavage, and the crowds come pouring in.

Sales at the Tilted Kilt, Twin Peaks and Brick House, casual eateries featuring scantily clad waitresses, have grown at a double-digit pace over the last year, according to projections from Technomic, a food market research firm. At the same time, sales limped along at most big restaurant chains like Olive Garden and TGI Friday’s.


Sales at “breastaurants” have thrived even while more generic sit-down chains struggle. (Data from Technomic)

The so-called “breastaurants” take inspiration from Hooters, the 30-year-old chain known for big-breasted waitresses wearing short shorts and oddly orange pantyhose. But today’s cleavage chains have updated the concept with fresher-looking spaces and menus better suited to today’s young people who are increasingly interested in artisanal food and craft beer.

Twin Peaks, dubbed the foodie’s breastaurant, makes all of its dishes from scratch — no frozen wings. The menu, which is locally sourced, features sophisticated twists on classic bar food like venison chili, blackened fish tacos and wings with an optional topping of green chili parmesan sauce.

Of course, the menu also highlights the restaurant’s “well-built sandwiches”: The waitresses wear miniscule shorts and tiny plaid shirts that tie just below the chest, exposing their midriffs.

“Men are simple creatures and so you don’t have to get too crazy to get them in the door,” said Kristen Colby, the chain’s senior director of marketing, adding that all it takes is an ice cold beer, sports on TV and beautiful girls.

“We know we’re not for everybody and that’s okay,” she said, noting that other casual dining chains have struggled in part because they’re trying to be all things to all people.

At the Titled Kilt, where “the beer never looked so good,” three-quarters of the customers are men. The restaurant’s waitresses wear sexy Celtic-inspired uniforms of short plaid skirts and skimpy white shirts. Company founder Mark DiMartino dreamed up the costumes, which are influenced by the Catholic schoolgirl look, according to Ron Lynch, the company’s president. “All of us guys had a crush on a cute girl in school and obviously he had crushes on the cute girls with plaid skirts,” Lynch said of DiMartino.

Lynch said he “shudders” when he hears the chain lumped into the “breastaurant” category because he finds the term degrading to women. He sees his chain, which started in Las Vegas, channelling the original TGI Friday’s, with its “outrageous” staff, uniforms covered in pins and the “flair” made infamous by the 1999 movie “Office Space.”

tilted kilt

It’s no secret, of course, that sex sells. It also comes with a big helping of controversy and criticism.

The restaurants create an environment that exacerbates an already prevalent problem, said Liz Watson, the director of workplace justice for women at the National Women’s Law Center. The restaurant industry is notoriously rife with sexual harassment — nearly 80 percent of female servers say they’ve been harassed on the job, according to a report released last year by Restaurant Opportunities United, a restaurant worker advocacy group.

It’s especially a problem for women who work for tips, Watson said.

“The fact that womens’ wages are coming in from customers is already making them vulnerable to harassment,” she said. “It’s only being compounded by these types of restaurants.”

Some workers see it differently. Taylor Fogerty, a former Hooters waitress, has blogged about how she doesn’t see her former job at Hooters as anti-feminist. Instead, she said she was just “using the world of female objectification” to her advantage.

“Obviously there were some creeps, but I think you get creeps at any waiting job you go to,” she said in an interview iwth The Huffington Post, noting that the tips are usually better at a place like Hooters because servers are encouraged to spend time with customers. “You have the girls that you work with, it almost feels like a sorority. You’re all together sharing this experience.”

Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill is the self-proclaimed “only breastaurant in America.” (The chain has trademarked the term, though it is used in the industry to describe the category of restaurants more generally.) Doug Guller, the chain’s CEO, came under fire last month after the TV show “Undercover Boss” showed him axing a bartender who wore a T-shirt instead of a bikini and offering to pay for another employee’s breast augmentation surgery.

But a little attention was probably good for business. The chain has seen an uptick in sales since the episode aired, owing largely to the exposure, Guller told HuffPost. He believes that some of the criticism he received was unfair, noting that it wasn’t just a waitress’ refusal to wear a bikini that got her fired — she was also over-serving alcohol to a customer. Regarding the other incident, he says it was the waitress, not him, who first brought up the possibility of getting a breast augmentation.

The headlines gave the wrong impression that “I just hand out free boobs like water,” he said. Guller said his chain takes a more direct approach than others, embracing the “breastaurant” moniker to lure its target customers, men between the ages of 25 and 55.

“We’re just a little bit more straightforward,” he said.

Restaurant chains with modestly clad, co-ed servers have been struggling since the Great Recession began. Darden, the parent company of Olive Garden, has been throwing everything but the pasta at the wall to try and turn things around. Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s have tried to lure diners in with loyalty programs and free food to turn around sluggish sales.

Hooters, the grandmother of breastaurants, also has faced difficulties in recent years. According to Darren Tristano, an executive vice president at Technomic, the chain was distracted from its core business by fluctuating ownership and a focus on things like international expansion and a now-defunct affiliated airline. But Hooters is now revamping many of its restaurants and has had a stable management team in place for three years, which has helped the chain outperform the restaurant industry overall.

Hooters’ newer competitors are doing even better, thanks in large part to the struggles of other casual dining chains. As restaurants like Bennigan’s and Ruby Tuesday abandoned their locations during the recession, Tilted Kilt, Twin Peaks and others snapped them up, revamped the spaces and opened sports bar-themed eateries with pretty servers, according to Tristano.

“We saw the millennial consumer who was growing up going to these restaurants because they had cold beer, good food,” said Tristano. “And the price points, like the servers, were very attractive.”

Sourced from huffingtonpost.com



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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Claire Burgess , unemployed and on her way to Tennessee, decided to apply for a job at Hooters after stopping in for a beer and buffalo wings, where she found everyone to be 'very friendly'

‘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.

In a candid essay, Miss Burgess opens up about the uncomfortable uniforms, the big tips, the 'pervy' and angry men, and their -- at times -- even angrier wives

Though the famous 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'

‘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.

Waitresses seen working in a Hooters restaurant, bringing its famous fast food fare to customers 

‘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.’

Want to Be a Hooters Girl? Restaurant’s recruitment commercial

Sourced from Dailymail.com


30 Things You Didn’t Know About Working as a Hooters Girl

South Korean girls of Hooters
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Today, we celebrate the 30th birthday of a national treasure, a beacon of light amid the ever-darkening times, a place to rest your weary bones and eat chicken wings, a place with boobs: Hooters.

The first Hooters opened in Clearwater, Fla. and, as legend has it, one cofounder convinced that year’s Jose Cuervo bikini contest winner into becoming their first employee. Thus was born the Hooters Girl.

Tonight, Hooters is hosting a nation-wide Hooters Girl Reunion to celebrate. In a video on their site, one Hooters Girl gushes, “Working at the store is awesome. It’s like being a rock star in my own little town.”

But what does it really take to work at the restaurant? We asked a few former Hooters Girls. Here’s everything they had to say:

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

1. It doesn’t really matter if you have any serving experience. Hooters cares more about your personality.

2. More importantly, Hooters found a loophole to hire their girls based on looks: They get away with hiring “thin” and “pretty” girls because they are hired as entertainers, not servers.

3. You don’t have to have double D’s to work there though. All sizes of boobs are welcome, from A to F! But some girls will wear two or three bras or bras that are too small, to amp their cleavage up.

4. During training, they take the time to teach new hires how to draw an owl in ketchup.

5. Hooters Girls must wear sneakers and socks. And there is a correct way to scrunch the sock. If done properly, it can actually make your legs look leaner.

6. And pantyhose, which the girls have to buy themselves. The official coloring is “suntan.”

7. Hair must be down at all times. No ponytails allowed, ever.

8. You have to wear makeup every day. It’s in the handbook. (Their website says makeup “should appear natural to best accentuate your features” and that mascara and lipstick are required.)

9. Hooters Girls only wear black on Friday.

10. Once a month is special costume day and Hooters Girls must supply their own costumes. November might be military themed, December is Christmas or winter themed. There’s firefighter night, police night, country night, animals night, etc.

Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images

11. Hooters Girls can trade tank tops with other stores. So if you ever see a girl at, say, the Hollywood location in a Boston tank top, she went there and traded a top with another Hooters Girl. The only location that won’t trade is Vegas. They make you buy the tank top and show a pay stub for proof you work there.

12. You have to get approval to wear the Hooters crop top. “Basically your stomach has to be flat and you can’t have any muffin top,” one former Hooters Girl told us. “Which is basically impossible in those shorts.”

13. It varies by location, but some stores have “seasonal” attire (i.e. Hooters Girls in somecold weather climates get to wear long sleeves).

14. Hooters Girls cannot come to or leave work with their uniform showing, other than the shoes (for safety reasons). If a girl wears her uniform outside of work she is supposed to be fired immediately.

15. That said, former Hooters Girls do get to keep the uniforms, so you can wear it for Halloween after you quit or get fired!

16. Shifts are assigned based on sales. “Hooters Girls hustle the merchandise to try and get better shifts.”

17. There are 16 steps to Hooters Girls customer service and, technically, a minimum of three Hooters Girls are supposed to stop by your table during your meal. It’s called the E3 system: Every Hooters Girl, Every Guest, Every Day.

18. If a couple comes in, Hooters Girls are supposed to sit next to the girl—never the guy—to appear less threatening.

19. “College guys make the best customers,” our former Hooters Girl revealed. “The ones that go to Hooters tend to be shy but far more respectful. Drunk 40-year-old-men are the worst.”

20. Hugs are discouraged between Hooters Girls and customers. Sometimes forbidden.

South Korean girls of Hooters
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

21. When it’s slow, it’s not uncommon to find Hooters Girls playing board games with the customers. “I’ve had a blast playing Connect Four with some Marines,” one Girl told us.

22. You learn choreographed dances during training and if you hear a particular song start playing when you’re on the clock, you’re supposed to stop every and dance.

23. There are songs and chants for birthdays and “Hooter’s virgins.” Our former Hooters Girl says, “They pretty much exist to make the girls look dumb and embarrass the guests.”

24. Cell phones are forbidden on the floor. The Hooters Girls we spoke to had never seen it happen, but had heard stories about managers taking girls’ pouches and slamming them on the ground if they think she has her cell phone on her.

25. Hooters Girls get free meals every shift…if they choose to order the Hooters approved “healthy” options, which don’t appear on the menu. Otherwise, there’s a sliding scale on meal discounts (usually 50 percent off for wings, etc.)

26. Fries are full price.

27. Some restaurants offer discounts on tanning and gym memberships for Hooters Girls.

28. Hooters Girls are supposed to yell “Hi! Welcome to Hooters!” every time someone walks in the restaurant. (“It dies quick.”)

29. Come for the wings, stay for the curly fries. “Hooters has the best curly fries.”

30. Yes, your Hooter Girl is making minimum wage. Please tip accordingly.

Sourced from uk.eonline.com