Monday, January 26, 2009

When Will the Recession Affect "Breastaurants"?

No one goes to Hooters for the wings. I hate to admit an old friend of mine once dragged me there just after high school and the food was terrible.

I can't say I'm surprised that Texas is the number-one place for Hooters competitors to spring up, but this article from the Star-Telegram is a rather unfocused look at "breastaurants." First it talks about how Hooters has more or less enjoyed a monopoly on the, ahem, sub-genre of restaurants. Then it talks about the restaurant, dubbed Twin Peaks (sigh, the '90s David Lynch-produced television series will now never be the same) is set to open in a vacated Ruby Tuesday space on Thursday.

It also notes that, "men — typically 21 to 58 years old, in Twin Peaks’ case — will flock to such places." Um, ok. So apparently once men hit 59 they are done with the "breastaurants"? It's obvious that such places cater to straight, white men with a certain attitude about women, but the age estimation is just weird. It also astutely quotes a lecturer at Cornell's trade school for restaurant and hotel administrators saying "Sex sells." Wow, that is some hard-hitting journalism.

The article goes on to note that overall casual dining consumption is down. One of the executives at Hooters notes, "Families make up about 10 percent of the Hooters clientele. The male/female customer ratio has changed from 80 percent/20 percent in 1991, when McNeil joined the company, to about 68 percent/32 percent now." The fact that they're trying to sell Hooters as a "family-friendly" joint is kind of sick.

The article also notes that social conservatives in Arlington, TX tried to prevent Hooters moving in by holding up its liquor license. How did they deal with it? "Hooters gave away free beer for several years before gaining its liquor license." The bottom of the article also points out the locations of the new and old restaurants that cater to "younger, male clientele." Ugh.

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