Hooters Shuts Down Rumors Of A Possible Rebrand

If you've been on Twitter lately, you might've seen a fake news story claiming Hooters is closing down and reinventing itself. Ever since the chain started, Hooters has provided diners with a traditionally masculine eating experience. It is, as Nation's Restaurant News calls it, a "breastaurant," with the "Hooters" name referring to both its owl mascot and a part of the body. 

The brand's servers are called "Hooters Girls," and they famously wear low-cut tank tops and short shorts. This image policy has, of course, rubbed some the wrong way and resulted in discrimination lawsuits against Hooters. However, it's also undeniably proved to be an effective business strategy.

Hooters currently has hundreds of locations spread across dozens of countries. Aside from appealing to the male gaze, it also features comfort food, boozy drinks, and big-screen TVs, tuned into sports, plastering its walls. That fast-casual dining business model resulted in more than $800 million in sales as recently as 2021, per Statista. So, why would Hooters consider rebranding?

Are millennials killing the 'breastaurant' industry?

Posting something on the internet doesn't automatically make it true. Nonetheless, when Twitter account Daily Loud posted in December that Hooters was closing and rebranding itself because millennials supposedly "aren't that into boobs," it caught folks' attention. Daily Loud, explaining in a reply to itself, cited an August 2017 article from Complex, which noted that the number of Hooters locations has diminished in recent years (actual data via Entrepreneur). The Complex article also cited a study from Pornhub that found millennials were the least likely generation to search for breasts on its website.

Hooters' Twitter account quickly shut down the rumors. Screenshotting a 2017 tweet from Complex's Twitter, which purported the very same shut-down rumor, Hooters dismissed all of this as being fake news. The next day, Hooters retweeted its year-old tweet, "Haters gonna hate. Hooters gonna hoot," insightfully adding, "mood," to the discussion. Meanwhile, in a more formal manner, Hooters spokesperson Stephen Brown told the Associated Press, "There is no validity to this story," and reassured fans, "Our concept is here to stay."

To be fair, it is true that Hooters overhauled its brand back in 2012 and opened a new restaurant concept without scantily clad servers in 2017. However, it would appear that main brand of Hooters is staying the course going into the early 2020s.