Hooters as you know it may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to an ambitious overhaul that seeks to transform the nearly 30-year-old chain into "Hooters 2.0."
Nation's Restaurant News (NRN) writes that Hooters will remodel between 20 and 25 of its 430 restaurants a year for the next few years, armed with the tagline "Feed the Dream," which aims to secure Hooters as the place to celebrate special occasions. In a release, Hooters chief executive Terry Marks spoke with NRN about the rebranding:
“People want any reason to engage or re-engage with the brand,” said chief executive Terry Marks, who came aboard with his executive team in late 2011. “It’s highly thought of, and our unaided awareness is among the best. But the food had not kept pace over time. We had real opportunities with the food and the Hooters Girls’ hospitality.”
One of the main changes regards how servers, or Hooters Girls, handle customers. Instead of handling only their tables and sections, the new model emphasizes team service and pitching in where help is needed.
An ad campaign is also a big part of the rebranding. The company enlisted agency Fitzgerald & Co. to handle it, which in turn picked up Eastbound & Down director and writer Jody Hill to direct TV spots featuring two owls playing angel and devil meant to represent internal debate in a would-be patron's mind.
NBC spoke with Fitzgerald & Co. chief creative officer Noel Cottrell, who said, "It really is the conversation you always have (about Hooters)," adding, "people don't know how to broach the subject of going to Hooters with friends, coworkers or even spouses." The playful ads, he hopes, will show that Hooters is about more than just Hooters girls.
Late last year, Hooters decided to overhaul its original location in Clearwater, Fla. It reopened on Feb. 12 with a new inside/outside bar and patio, plus a museum area featuring Hooters memorabilia and keepsakes.
At the time, Hooters CEO and president Neil Kiefer said in a release that the company was "reinvesting in our brand" but that the site would remain "delightfully tacky, yet unrefined."
Hooters is one of the oldest and certainly the most iconic of so-called "breastaurant" chains, which are seeing a boom in popularity with little sign of slowing.
Watch one of Hooters' new "2.0" ads below.