Hooters is reversing course on the skimpy new shorts several servers publicly called out as too revealing and uncomfortable. The restaurant chain said employees can now choose between wearing the new shorts or longer shorts. After the shorter shorts were given to employees earlier this month, many shared now-viral videos showing just how tiny they were, with some saying they were more "like underwear."
"As we continue to listen and update the image of the Hooters Girls, we are clarifying that they have the option to choose from traditional uniforms or the new ones," a Hooters of America spokesperson told Insider Sunday. "They can determine which style of shorts best fits their body style and personal image." Hooters of America, LLC is the bigger of the two companies that operate Hooters restaurants in the U.S. The other, The Original Hooters Group, never asked employees to wear the short shorts.
Earlier this week, The New York Post obtained a new Hooters policy update, requiring employees to wear the short shorts starting on Oct. 4. "The old shorts should not be worn," the notice read, adding that anyone who feels "uncomfortable" with the new trunk rules could resign. "We would ask that you try them out and, if after two weeks, you are still hesitant to wear the new shorts you may transfer to a non-image based position or resign your position as a Hooters Girl," the statement read. "If you choose to resign you will be eligible for rehire."
Several Hooters employees took to TikTok to share videos showing off the new shorts, with one describing them as shorts with just a "crotch string." In her video about the shorts, waitress Kristen Songer noted that there is "no longer anything covered by these shorts... This is why all the Hooters girls are upset - because this is not what I agreed to wear a year ago when I was hired."
At first, Hooters of America defended the shorts. "The new uniforms were the result of a collaboration with Hooters Girls," the company told NBC News. "These uniforms have been worn for months in several Texas markets and have received overwhelmingly favorable reviews from both Hooters Girls and customers."
In the new statement, the company called Hooters waitresses their "most valuable" asset. "We're excited to see a national trend toward self-expression and inclusivity that bodes well for our marketplace," the company read. "We work continuously with our Hooters Girls to refresh and update the image of our brand ambassadors and to empower them to feel their best while at work."
Hooters outfits have always been controversial, with many seeing them as demeaning and oversexualizing their employees. In 2010, about 400 current and former employees in the Sacramento area filed a class action lawsuit against the company over the strict uniforms, hours, and pay. In December 2011, the company reached a settlement, agreeing to relax uniform requirements, guarantee break times and pay employees for all Hooters-related work.