Hooters Is Chasing Women...As Customers! - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Hooters Is Chasing Women...As Customers!

NBCNEWS.COM - Hooters has always been known for tank top-wearing "girls." Now, faced with declining sales, it's wooing women — as customers.

The chain's waitresses are as buxom as ever but its sales have "flattened out," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at research firm Technomic, Inc. Revenue peaked in 2007 at nearly $1 billion but had fallen to around $850 million last year, he estimated. (The privately-held company doesn't release sales figures.) The brand recently announced an overhaul aimed at making Hooters more mainstream than man-cave, adding more salads to its menu, remodeling stores and rolling out a series of ads last week to tout the changes.

These efforts have only made the brand a little more popular, a new consumer survey shows.

According to market research firm YouGov's BrandIndex, both men and women think slightly better of Hooters than they did prior to its overhaul, but men's impression barely squeaked into positive territory, and women's overall perception remained sharply negative. BrandIndex CEO Ted Marzilli said the small gains were encouraging for the brand, but "it's not a brand that appeals to everyone."

Hooters' PR agency declined to make a spokesperson available for comment, and messages left with the company's chief marketing officer were not returned.

The Atlanta-based chain and founder of the unfortunately termed "breastaurant" trend is trying to keep its core customer — the guy for whom the chain's signature wings are a secondary attraction to the scantily-clad wait staff — from defecting to newer competitors like Tilted Kilt or Twin Peaks, while at the same time appealing to their girlfriends or wives.

"Restaurants can increase their base if they can negate the ‘veto vote'... Women are the driving force on our everyday eating patterns," said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at research firm NPD Group. "Traditionally, when you want to appeal to more women, you're going to bring in issues that have to do with diet. It will be salads, things that are fresher."

"The food had not kept pace over time," CEO Terry Marks told Nation's Restaurant News in August. "By broadening the menu and introducing items that are better for you, we can get both new people and lapsed guests who might have outgrown our core items."

In January, Hooters debuted its first redesigned location, which the company said gives customers "a more open and brighter appearance," thanks to higher ceilings and lighter colors. 

"They're moving it forward, but it's a larger brand, so in order to move the needle, it's going to take some time," Tristano said.

"They developed a niche and by some standard were certainly successful  in establishing that niche," Marzilli said, but the chain's focus on sex appeal has some inherent limitations. "There are some women who will say it's a sexist theme or I dont like what the brand stands for.'"

In good economic times, that might not be an issue. But the recession pummeled the casual dining sector, and Hooters' core customer, young men, have been disproportionately affected by unemployment.

"The overall casual dining space... has been undergoing a lot of turmoil over the last four to five years," said John Gordon, principal and founder at restaurant consulting company Pacific Management Consulting Group. "Hooters had an even more difficult situation," he said, because ownership turmoil distracted management from reinvesting in and reinventing what was becoming a dated brand.

NPD data found that Americans went out to eat, on average, 74 times last year. That's the lowest number since the company began tracking it in 1984. "They're appealing to a behavior that's decreasing in this country," Balzer said.

"The question is, mathematically... how do I keep my base while growing and attracting logical new users?" Gordon said. For Hooters' management, the answer seems to be greater inclusivity.

But Tristano questioned whether catering to women is really in the brand's best interest. "I think they need to stay true to their brand," he said. "To try to make Hooters more female-oriented will move away from what has attracted men to the concept... It may be as harmful to target them as it is helpful to bring them in the doors."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Exposed handlebar grip kills 6-year-old Pullman boy in bicycle crash

    Exposed handlebar grip kills 6-year-old Pullman boy in bicycle crash

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 2:13 AM EDT2018-08-15 06:13:21 GMT

    PULLMAN, Wash. - Six-year-old Denny Curran should be enjoying his last few days of summer before first grade. He should be teasing his brother, splashing in the pool, giving his parents a hard time about vegetables. Instead, Denny is dead, the victim of a horrific, freak bicycle accident that could happen to your child too. "Denny was an extraordinary child," his father Keith Curran told KHQ.

    >>

    PULLMAN, Wash. - Six-year-old Denny Curran should be enjoying his last few days of summer before first grade. He should be teasing his brother, splashing in the pool, giving his parents a hard time about vegetables. Instead, Denny is dead, the victim of a horrific, freak bicycle accident that could happen to your child too. "Denny was an extraordinary child," his father Keith Curran told KHQ.

    >>
  • Police say possible bad batch of drugs hits Spokane

    Police say possible bad batch of drugs hits Spokane

    Thursday, August 16 2018 2:25 AM EDT2018-08-16 06:25:12 GMT

    Spokane, Wash. It's been 24 hours of chaos for Spokane's police and fire departments. They have been running from call to call with reports of people walking in the middle of the street yelling at random people or at objects that don't exist. What Caused it? The Spokane Regional Health District is still struggling to find out "What we are hearing is that these individuals are demonstrating almost what would be what looks like a stimulant psychosis,"  said Doctor Bob...

    >>

    Spokane, Wash. It's been 24 hours of chaos for Spokane's police and fire departments. They have been running from call to call with reports of people walking in the middle of the street yelling at random people or at objects that don't exist. What Caused it? The Spokane Regional Health District is still struggling to find out "What we are hearing is that these individuals are demonstrating almost what would be what looks like a stimulant psychosis,"  said Doctor Bob...

    >>
  • Relative: Family of 7 on vacation died in Oregon collision

    Relative: Family of 7 on vacation died in Oregon collision

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 3:03 PM EDT2018-08-15 19:03:19 GMT

    BURNS, Ore. (AP) - A family member says seven of the eight people killed in a crash on a remote Oregon road were relatives headed to a Las Vegas vacation.    The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Wednesday that 29-year-old Erika Boquet, of Tacoma, Washington, and her three children - 6, 9 and 11 - were killed Monday on Oregon Highway 78.

    >>

    BURNS, Ore. (AP) - A family member says seven of the eight people killed in a crash on a remote Oregon road were relatives headed to a Las Vegas vacation.    The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Wednesday that 29-year-old Erika Boquet, of Tacoma, Washington, and her three children - 6, 9 and 11 - were killed Monday on Oregon Highway 78.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Trump pulls Brennan's clearance, links move to Russia probe

    Trump pulls Brennan's clearance, links move to Russia probe

    Thursday, August 16 2018 1:45 AM EDT2018-08-16 05:45:13 GMT
    Photo: The White HousePhoto: The White House
    Photo: The White HousePhoto: The White House

    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is linking his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan to the special counsel's investigation into Russia election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump pointed to Brennan as one of the people he believes is responsible for special counsel Robert Muller's investigation.  

    >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is linking his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan to the special counsel's investigation into Russia election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump pointed to Brennan as one of the people he believes is responsible for special counsel Robert Muller's investigation.  

    >>
  • Rare nickel sells for $4.5 million at auction

    Rare nickel sells for $4.5 million at auction

    Thursday, August 16 2018 1:22 AM EDT2018-08-16 05:22:34 GMT
    Stack's Bower GalleriesStack's Bower Galleries

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A rare nickel has sold for $4.5 million at a Philadelphia auction. Stack's Bowers Galleries sold the Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel Wednesday night during the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money at the Philadelphia Convention Center. It is named for financier Louis E. Eliasberg, who bought the coin in 1948 and amassed one of the greatest coin collections in U.S. history. 

    >>

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A rare nickel has sold for $4.5 million at a Philadelphia auction. Stack's Bowers Galleries sold the Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel Wednesday night during the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money at the Philadelphia Convention Center. It is named for financier Louis E. Eliasberg, who bought the coin in 1948 and amassed one of the greatest coin collections in U.S. history. 

    >>
  • Passengers help deliver baby born on Minnesota bus

    Passengers help deliver baby born on Minnesota bus

    Wednesday, August 15 2018 6:52 PM EDT2018-08-15 22:52:34 GMT

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Passengers on a city bus in Minnesota have helped a woman deliver her baby after she went into labor. The Star Tribune reports the mother started having contractions Tuesday as the bus rolled through a neighborhood near the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus. Jane Mulcahy was seated right across from the woman. Mulcahy says the woman yelled, "The baby is coming." 

    >>

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Passengers on a city bus in Minnesota have helped a woman deliver her baby after she went into labor. The Star Tribune reports the mother started having contractions Tuesday as the bus rolled through a neighborhood near the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus. Jane Mulcahy was seated right across from the woman. Mulcahy says the woman yelled, "The baby is coming." 

    >>