Hooters has announced plans to expand its spinoff restaurant brands, adding more family-friendly locations to the company's roster. Hooters is famed for coining the term "breastaurant," but as times change, the company is exploring new options to try to keep its old customers and entice new ones. The first of these efforts, Hoots, is celebrating its two-year anniversary.
According to a report by Today, Hooters of America, LLC was recently sold to Nord Bay Capital and TriArtisan Capital Advisers. The two investment companies are taking over some control of the restaurant chain, although the original franchisor will still retain a major stake, and will continue to operate some locations as they have always been run.
In the meantime, the two private TriArtisan and Nord Bay will reportedly focus on expanding more casual concepts for the chain. They will start by building on Hoots, which currently offers the same basic menu as Hooters, but with more conservatively clothed staff. The companies reportedly want Hoots to go nationwide and to target families and millennials more directly.
Hoots employees wear T-shirts and polo shirts with a low-key logo across the front -- white on orange or maroon. They wear long pants, unlike the shorts in their predecessor restaurants, and men are employees as often as women.
"Providing a concept that equally employs males and females in both the kitchen and front-of-house, in addition to providing staff less provocative uniforms, sets this brand to compete in an era where staff culture, gender equality and brand perception is just as important to younger restaurant goers [as] the menu," said Doug Radkey, the owner of Key Restaurant Group.
Hoots currently operates like a Chipotle, or other fast-casual restaurants. They have a one-page menu and offer counter service only, but with the same fare as the main Hooters restaurant. It includes buffalo chicken wings, sandwiches, fried shrimp and snow crab legs.
Future Hoots locations will include more in-store dining tables, without disrupting the to-go options now available. Hooters of America CEO Terry Marks told Today that the company is pleased with Hoots' progress so far, and are excited to see where things go from here.
"We are pleased with the early results of our new fast casual concept and plan additional openings later this year," Marks said.0comments
Hoots first opened in Cicero, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. With this new planned expansion, the company hopes it will go nationwide. The original Hooters currently has 430 locations, spread across 38 states in the U.S. and 27 countries in total. As Marks told National Restaurants News in 2017, Hoots has the potential to overtake it if things go well.
"It's a logical extension of the brand and [opening more Hoots] will provide more people with more opportunities to enjoy our world famous wings," he said.