Hooters Continues Robust Expansion Globally

Front Cover-page-0_12.jpgKnown for its world-famous Hooters Style chicken wings, the first Hooters opened its doors in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida. Expectations were so modest at the time that the simple fact the doors opened was deemed worthy of a toast. Since then millions have been liberated from the ordinary at Hooters while enjoying great food, fun, and one-of-a-kind hospitality that can only be served up by the Hooters Girls. The Hooters brand has grown to have more than 420 locations in 39 US states, and in 30 countries. 

Today, the brand continues its global expansion, with over 30 new locations opening in 2017, with almost half of those being within the United States. With over 120 commitments for future franchise development worldwide, Hooters has plans to open and continue its growth in multiple markets across the United States, including Texas, Florida, and California.

Furthermore, Hooters continues to ramp up its new corporate development in the US, with 10 new restaurants opening in 2017, and at least 12 each year for the next few years.  In addition to new restaurant growth, Hooters’ remodeling program continues on with an additional 9 remodels in 2017. By the end of the year, Hooters will have over 200 restaurants built to the new prototype design.

Hooters’ new restaurant design appeals to a broad range of customers with more contemporary seating and interior finishes, and top-of-the-line Audio and Visual packages. It also includes a centrally located bar area, offering a wide selection of cocktails, craft beers and wines. It’s a fun, lively atmosphere where customers get a great meal and enjoy a beer while watching their favorite sporting event.

Hooters is not just good looking, it is renowned for its diverse and craveable menu, including fresh entree salads, a great lineup of hand-formed burgers, delicious seafood dishes, and fan-favorite fried pickles. Of course, Hooters Girls always serve their world-famous traditional and boneless chicken wings with Buffalo sauce favorites, ranging in heat from mild to 911, as well as additional signature sauces and rubs, such as teriyaki-style samurai, lemon pepper and chipotle honey. The variety of wings Hooters offers has expanded to bacon wrapped and smoked, too! Can you imagine all of the possible combinations? It would take more than just a few trips to try them all!

Hooters continues to seek new franchisees throughout the world, as well as development with new partners in the United States.  According to Chief Development Officer, Mark Whittle, Hooters is taking “a more proactive approach” when it comes to identifying the right candidates, rather than simply waiting for the right person/organization to look them up.  With 100% brand awareness in the US, and over 93% around the world, the Hooters brand is not one that needs a lot of introduction to the local consumers.

“One of the great things about selling this concept is that you never have to overcome a brand-awareness hurdle,” Whittle says. “Whether here in the U.S. or abroad, everyone knows Hooters and most people have a genuine fondness for the brand." In addition, Hooters is seeking real estate sites in various markets for its’ existing franchise partners that are aggressively growing the brand.

The ideal franchisee, he says, is someone who’s operated multiple restaurants in a given market, or someone who’s entering the project with access to an experienced partner. Also key, in addition to financial wherewithal, is a desire to develop multiple restaurants. “The three (3) common elements with our largest franchisee partners in the United States are a passion for our great brand, solid operational execution, and the financial capability to grow the brand in each of their markets,” says Whittle.

Whittle also says Hooters looks for potential franchisees with $1.5 million in available cash on hand, and a $3 million net worth, but these levels can vary depending upon the market.

But it’s not simply about the money, Whittle says. Hooters is first and foremost a people business.

“We want our associates and our franchisees to be passionate about the business and the concept, and to have a desire to be with people,” he says. “This is a people business and we happen to sell food. Introverts don’t seem to be successful, or, if you’re an introvert by nature, you need to have the outgoing sort of people working with you. If Warren Buffett called me tomorrow, the first question I’d ask him is ‘Who is going to operate the restaurant?’ and if he couldn’t give me an answer, I’d ask him to get an operations partner secured, then we could talk about Hooters.”

In terms of markets, Whittle says, Hooters is predominantly looking at places with populations of at least 100,000 or 125,000 with an upper-middle income base, a high preponderance of daytime activity and a strong residential base surrounding the site. In addition, Hooters prefers sites that are within close proximity to regional malls, theatres and/or sports arenas to help drive evening and late night traffic. Some of the most successful Hooters restaurants are located in the hearts of large downtown areas.

For more information, please visit www.Hooters.com/franchising or www.linkedin.com/in/hooters-franchising-7674a4126/ , or follow us at twitter.com/hooters, facebook.com/hooters, instagram.com/hooters, or on Snapchat at “hooters”.