Will female customers suddenly start flocking to Hooters if it freshens up its musty man-cave decor and offers non-iceberg-lettuce salads?
Terry Marks, the new chief executive of the 29-year-old “breastaurant” pioneer, is banking on it as he revamps the chain, which has 430 locations internationally.
Four years of declining sales and an influx of competition from the likes of Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks have Hooters running scared. Marks, formerly of Coca-Cola, plans to woo an untapped base: women, who now comprise one-third of customers. The lure: more contemporary decor, a fresher menu, bigger windows and patios.
But Marks isn’t tampering with the look of the servers who give the chain its cringe-inducing name: their tank tops, tight orange shorts and shiny pantyhose will stay. Some things remain sacred. “There’s an opportunity to broaden the net without putting wool sweaters on the Hooters girls,” Marks told Bloomberg News.