Undoubtedly one of the strangest cultural phenomenons to emanate from the US of A has to be the Hooters restaurant chain.
Famous for its large breasted wait staff (and little else), even in these politically correct times the Atlanta-based chain boasts 430 restaurants globally, including three here in Australia in Sydney’s Penrith and Parramatta and up on the Gold Coast.
As one may expect, the “breastraunt” chain has been suffering an image problem of late amongst female clientele and Millennials. However, rather than be a bit pervy, Hooters’ bosses prefer to seem themselves as “family-friendly”.
That said, the company reports it has worked hard on its female-friendly image in recent times that it says has seen a 50 per cent increase in female patronage since 2015.
In its latest attempts to get with the times, Hooters has just announced more breasts, this time in the shape of a plant-based chicken option to its menu.
Hooters believes its the new plant-based wings – via meat-free manufacturer Quorn – will bring in new customers and appeal to its ageing core customer base.
The company’s even unveiled a social media campaign – naturally featuring its fabled Hooters girls – to promote the new menu item.
According to Hooters’ CMO Carl Sweat, the new menu option is not only to entice new customers but also appeal to its traditional customer-base (men over 40) who also want healthier dining options.
“As many of us have aged and seen the opportunity to eat better,” Sweat telling US Business Insider.
Of the new ad campaign, Sweat added: “They are the chicken experts (Hooters staff). They engage with more people on a daily basis about chicken, and they eat the product.”
According to Sweat, Hooters’ research has found that women are apparently turned off by the greasy menu options even more so than they are by the busty waitstaff.
“Sometimes the no vote would have been, well they don’t have things I can eat, I don’t want to eat fried foods,” Sweat said. “So really bringing forth healthier options was a big part of that. Adding kids meals and a complete kid’s meal with milk … Just making sure that people understand that, we are a family restaurant.”
According to Ben Sussna, Quorn Foods’ head of marketing, women, families and Millennials can be enticed into a Hooters if it offers healthy options that are seen as sustainable.