Restaurants

Hooters to open fast-casual spin-off with male and female servers

Waitresses serve food and beverages at the opening celebration of a new Hooters location.

Waitresses serve food and beverages at the opening celebration of a new Hooters location.  (Reuters)

Some patrons of Hooters may enjoy the scantily clad female servers more than the food, but the brand is banking on its world-famous wings to carry a new restaurant concept. 

Hooters, the “delightfully tacky, yet unrefined” chain is planning to launch its first ever fast-casual location — an eatery its calling Hoots, A Hooters Joint — in Cicero, Ill.

Set to open mid-February, Hoots will offer guests an abridged menu of the chain’s most popular appetizers and entrees like chicken wings, fries and crab legs, reports Nation's Restaurant News. Instead of table service, patrons will order food from a counter and pick it up themselves.

Another big difference between Hooters and Hoots? Hoots is doing away with the “Hooters Girls” in favor of both male and female team members who will mostly assist with taking orders.

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Like Hooters-- and unlike many popular fast-casual restaurants-- Hoots will retain a full-service bar in its first location. 

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Amid stiff competition from faster service eateries like Chipotle and Panera Bread, industry experts say it should come as no surprise that Hooters wants to spread its wings. According to Technomic, “breastaurants” like Hooters, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt have been outperforming similar dining establishments like Olive Garden and TGI Friday’s in the past few years. The fast-casual business model has also seen a surge in popularity

“It’s a logical extension of the brand and will provide more people with more opportunities to enjoy our world famous wings,” Terry Marks, CEO of Hooters America, said in a statement. “We have a lot to learn, but we are excited about the potential.”