While many people may be turned off by the idea of a restaurant called Hooters, which requires female servers to don revealing, skin-tight uniforms, the history of Hooters is actually full of weird facts that may make even those most resistant willing to give it a chance. Founded on April Fool’s Day in 1983, the original “breasturant” has expanded into several different business ventures: the brand sells merchandise and a yearly calendar, boasts a Las Vegas casino hotel, and hosts a yearly swimsuit pageant.
Despite being the first of its kind, Hooters has since faced stiff competition in the form of Tilted Kilt, Twin Peaks, Brick House, and other restaurants that have taken on the model of boasting attractive female staff with whom the guests can take photos. In order to keep up with the new competition, Hooters has renovated many stores and installed outdoor areas, added healthier salad options, and switched from using frozen to fresh wings. Even with the competition, Hooters remains one of the most recognizable and successful American restaurants, truly relying on its "delightfully tacky" motto. From the random way the restaurant was founded to the former Hooters Girls who have gone on to become famous in their own right to the strict and arguably sexist rules all serves must follow, Hooters trivia can be pretty tacky, indeed. Here are all the things you didn't know about Hooters - vote up the juiciest facts about this titillating franchise!
The first Hooters calendar was launched in 1986. While only 2,500 copies were printed that year, the few restaurants in existence at that time sold out of the calendars. Now, distribution for the Hooter calendar is estimated to be half a million, making it one of the best-selling calendars of its kind.
Two specific things make the Hooters calendar stand out. First, all of the women pictured in the calendar are servers at Hooters restaurants, which means one could potentially meet any of the beautiful women in their calendar. The second thing that sets the Hooters calendar apart from other swimsuit calendars is that the months are out of order. This is done in order to force one to flip through the entire calendar to find the right month, making one revisit the photos of older months over and over again.
Since its birth, the Hooters logo has also been an owl, whose two eyes are the “oo” in “Hooters.” While the owl is clearly a nod to the sound an owl makes, the logo has been critiqued by some for looking too much like human, well, hooters. Whether you find this logo delightfully tacky or just plain inappropriate, not many people know that this owl has a name, Hootie, which is admittedly totally adorable. On top of that, every single Hooters Girl knows how to draw Hootie with ketchup, as it's part of their training program.
While chicken wings may be the most popular food ordered by customers, it’s unlikely that the women serving up these delicious wings actually eat them very often. In fact, there is reportedly a secret healthy menu called the "spa menu" from which the servers may eat for free during a shift. This menu features vegetables, chicken, salmon, and other low-fat items. If a server instead wanted to have the wings or another menu item deemed unhealthy, the server has to pay for said item.
On top of that, servers who fail the “uniform fitting” part of their job evaluation are often offered a free gym membership in order to slim down. In short, because Hooters demands their Hooters Girls look a certain way, the company is willing to make it financially viable for their employees to achieve said look.
While Hooters has settled many lawsuits due to their discriminatory hiring practices, the company had found a loophole. In a statement, the company explained,
“While we offer world-famous wings and burgers, the essence of our business is the Hooters Girl and the experience she provides to our customers. Hooters Girls are entertainers. They audition for their roles and, once hired, they must maintain a glamorous appearance, and sing, dance and engage the customers to provide a unique Hooters experience.”
Mandating that an entertainer looks a certain way actually complies with BFOQ requirements, which is how the restaurant has continued to hire a mostly female staff that looks a certain way.