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Hooters: Fun for the Whole Family

The restaurant chain wants more women and couples at its tables
Hooters: Fun for the Whole Family
Illustration by 731

It’s easy to see why some women are creeped out by Hooters, the chicken-wing chain known for buxom waitresses in tight orange shorts. The wall-to-wall dark wood, posters of bikinied Hooters girls, and tables of titillated guys downing pitchers of beer and making cracks about the chain’s “great wings” makes for a decidedly frat house vibe. Yet Chief Executive Officer Terry Marks’s makeover of the ultimate guys’ place depends heavily on paying more attention to its core customers’ wives and girlfriends.

Marks, a former Coca-Cola bottling executive hired last year to redo the chain, wants to remove the Hooters stigma so men aren’t embarrassed to put a visit to the chain on their expense accounts and women aren’t so quick to veto a meal there. “Face it, females are 51 percent of the population,” says John Gordon, principal at Pacific Management Consulting Group. “They’ve enjoyed more employment growth, and you can’t ignore them.”