Hooters isn’t the only restaurant chain known for its curvaceous waitresses and satisfying comfort foods.
Bombshells Restaurant & Bar, based out of Texas, has been in the restaurant game since 2013. But just a few months ago , the chain announced their first franchise development agreement calling for three brand new establishments to constructed in the next five years.
Yes, that means that you just might be seeing the Bombshell Girls in a city near you in the not so distant future.
Bombshells got its start 7 years ago in Dallas. The restaurant chain has always paid special attention to honoring the veterans. And current service members of all branches of the armed forces. That theming carries over to the waitresses – the Bombshell Girls – as well.
These lovely ladies wear cute little military-inspired pin-up outfits. And besides just bringing you your food, their role is to make you feel right at home while you’re enjoying your meal.
As you probably already expect from a bar and grill style restaurant, Bombshell features classic comfort foods like chicken wings, sliders, and onion rings. But if you’re in the mood for something a little more substantial, you can always order a rack of ribs or a fillet of grilled salmon. And if you’re a fan of spicy food, you’re going to love their line of exclusive hot sauces.
Each sauce is ranked by its DEFCON level. In the military, these five alert tiers indicate incrementally higher levels of threat to national security. We’re just going to warn you though, DEFCON 1 is sure to make you sweat, so proceed with caution.
Each Bombshells restaurant equipped with a fully stocked bar and an impressive drink menu. So if you’re looking for the perfect happy hour spot, look no further.
No surprise, many of the mixed drinks have military-inspired names. If you like Patron, you should try out the Camouflage. And Vodka lovers might appreciate a delicious curacao-infused libation called a Pearl Harbor.
Unfortunately, Bombshells Restaurants are only in a couple of Texas towns as of right now. But with their new franchise agreement, all of that is about to change. New locations are expected to open in Corpus Christi, San Marcos, and New Braunfels in the next five years.
The expansion is a giant step forward for the restaurant chain. And just might indicate their plans to expand further as time goes on.
Nick Mehdi, a member of the investment group that will be managing the San Antonio location, has described the atmosphere of the establishment as being appealing to singles, couples, families, and even millennials.
Their business model makes it possible for them to dominate the lunch, dinner, and late-night markets. And with their innovative floor designs and large outdoor patio, they’ve been able to operate safely throughout the pandemic.
Maybe it’s because of their affordable menu items or their easy-on-the-eyes wait staff. But Bombshells has developed a pretty sizable following in the last few years. That’s more than their primary competitor Hooters can say. Their sales figures and future prospects have been looking pretty dismal in recent times. And especially since COVID-19 came on the scene and changed everything.
And then you have to consider that Hooters isn’t the only player in the so-called ‘breastaurant’ world these days. In fact, it’s uncertain what the future holds for Hooters. Recent closures and consistently lackluster quarterly reports have called into question the chain’s viability in the modern market.
Maybe It’s The Uniform?
Hooters is the OG American ‘breastaurant‘. They’ve stayed true to their formula for almost forty years now. Even if you’ve never actually been to one before, you can probably describe their waitresses’ iconic uniforms.
You know, white tennis shoes, pantyhose, bright neon orange short-shorts, and a white tank top emblazoned with that suggestive Horned Owl logo.
Even though their strategy – and that uniform – hasn’t changed in many years, it just might be a good time for Hooters to try something new out. Obviously, something isn’t working. They’ve been bleeding cash for the last decade.
The number of Hooters restaurants has decreased by 7 percent from 2012 to 2016. And that number likely only gotten worse through out the pandemic.
Business Insider has attributed this to Pornhub’s recent findings that Millenials are far less likely to search for breasts. Others have speculated that Hooter’s problem doesn’t have anything to do with younger people’s interest. Or lack-there-of – in boobs, but has more so to do with the restaurant’s outdated business model.
The only people that it appeals to tend to be the more uncouth variety of baby boomers Seeing as that demographic naturally is decreasing in size year after year so is Hooter’s customer base.
How much is the uniform to blame for this decline? The iconic Hooters girl looks like she’s just taken a trip back to the 1980s. Maybe Hooters would benefit from giving their entire look a much needed aesthetic make-over. Frankly, the modern marketplace not very interested in what they have to offer. Hooters wants to save their brand and stay relevant, something obviously has to change.
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And stick around to see what Hooters needs to change about their business model if they want to keep up with the demands of modern consumers.
Let’s Consult The Manual
Over the years, Hooters has been surprisingly quiet about the uniform at the center of their business model. The only company-published description of the uniform that we have was leaked by the Smoking Gun in 2005.
According to the official Hooter’s employee manual printed that year, all employees have to sign a statement acknowledging that they work in an environment where joking and innuendo about female sex appeal is commonplace. Obviously, that statement alone is problematic. But it is likely that the policy might have received a rewrite in the 15 years since then. Still, Hooters PR department has refused to provide an updated copy of the employee manual upon request.
It’s actually really difficult to even verify what the uniform requirements are for women who work at a Hooters restaurant. Most employees are either apprehensive or incapable of providing a copy of the dress code.
One former employee – who asked only to called Marissa – told VOX that she never had a current copy of the employee manual because it didn’t exist. According to her, the dress code always communicated verbally and varies from location to location.
Marisa described how her location had a picture of what a model Hooters girl should look like posted in an employees-only area of the restaurant. On that same bulletin board, there other posts about how each girl’s hair and makeup should be done.
According to Marisa, the dress code is very strict. At the beginning of each of her shifts, the manager on duty would make sure that her hair and make-up were up to snuff – mascara and lipstick are a must. Each waitresses shirt and shorts are inspected for any stains, and their tights can’t have any rips or tears. Last of all, their shoes have to be white and clean at all times.
The original uniform featured white slouch socks but that done away with after that fad died in the late 80s. The original short-shorts designed by a swimwear company called Dolfin, but today ladies that work at Hooters are free to wear a lower-waisted dance inspired short. The pantyhose requirement, however, remains to this day.
What does the average modern Hooters employee actually think about wearing pantyhose? One employee who asked to called Samantha said that as a ballerina she’s been wearing hose all her life.
“I’m glad it’s part of the uniform because it holds everything in place” she added.
Marisa on the other hand had a different perspective on the tights. She complained that they rip too easy and that she would have to buy a new pair every couple of days. At almost five dollars a pair, that starts adding up. She did however acknowledge that she understood why Hooters would keep them as a part of the uniform.
She admits, “They make you look tan and cover up any marks on your legs”
Times Have Changed
The 2005 employee manual mentions that Hooters offers visitors the aesthetics of the all American cheerleader, surfer, and girl next door. Perhaps the surfer bit harks back to 1983 when the first Hooters location opened alongside surf shops and tourist traps in Clearwater, Florida.
Back in the early 80s, Hooters didn’t have to defend itself from a slew of sub-par reviews on the internet. Go check out what guests have to say about their visit to one of the chain’s locations on Yelp and you’ll find that an overwhelming amount of diners don’t even mention the cleavage.
Instead, you’ll find that many customers have complaints about being served cold food, weak drinks, and laughably small chicken wings.
A Complete Overhaul Needed
If Hooters wants to compete with other sexually suggestive restaurant chains like The Tilted Kilt or Twin Peaks, they’ll have to radically reconfigure their entire strategy and step into the modern world with a much needed revamp. It’s not that restaurant-goers are clamoring for less sexual uniforms, but Hooters feels like it’s stuck in the 90s on a beach somewhere.
The Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks, on the other hand, have both been experiencing steady growth in recent years and that’s probably because their menu is more in tune with the dining habits of modern diners. The Tilted Kilt offers pub-inspired eats whereas Twin Peaks prides itself on offering fresh prepared menu items made ‘from scratch’.
Don’t be coy. Everyone knows that Hooters created with one purpose in mind. That was to show people a dangerously close glimpse of the risque, but that’s something that people can get anywhere these days and there are a million other restaurants that serve up tastier food. If Hooters want’s to stay afloat in this modern world, they’re going to have to seriously up their game.
Honestly, it seems strange that anyone still goes to Hooters. Their food isn’t that great, their beverages are over-priced and their business model has improved by newer entries into the ‘breastaurant’ industry.
Do you think that Hooters will survive the next decade or do you think that they are inevitably going to wind up shuttering their doors? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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