Hooters is a restaurant geared toward the sports-bar, chicken wing atmosphere. Decorated using mostly wood as well as vintage memorabilia, Hooters has spawned many imitators, but no duplicators.
Six businessmen, each of whom had absolutely no prior restaurant experience, got together and decided to start a restaurant. Each of them came from a background not even resembling food service - a brick mason, a partner in a painting business, a retired service station owner, a painting contracter, a liquor salesman, and a real estate executive. They came up with "Hooters", and the company was incorporated on April 1, 1983 (April Fool's Day!). On October 4th of the same year, the first Hooters restaurant (2800 Gulf-To-Bay Boulevard) opened its doors to the city of Clearwater, Florida.
Hooters became a finger-food sports restaurant, sending tunes from the 50's and 60's through the air and emitting an atmosphere reminiscent of nostalgic times in America.
And then came the Hooters Girls.
A local bikini contest winner by the name of Lynne Austin was, during a Jose Cuervo bikini contest, approached by one of the founders of Hooters. She was briefed on the restaurant's ideas, and was asked to become the first Hooters Girl. She declined. Not about to give up, the Hooters exec pulled out a business card, and handed it to her with the notion that, if her current job were to fall through, she should give them a call. A few weeks later, she quit her job with GTE and joined the Hooters team.
And so began the Hooter Girl trend.
By the latter part of 1984, Hooters had exploded in popularity. As a result, the restaurant was partially suffering due to door-waits upwards of about two hours. Hooters eventually penned a deal to make the restaurant a chain, and other Hooters restaurants spawned in Lakeland, Tampa, and Atlanta. A few years later, the chain had grown to approximately 70 company-owned locations and 150 franchises around the world.
And then came the Hooters Girls Calendar.
The first Hooters calendar appeared in 1985, featuring Lynne Austin. The next year (thanks to a photo submission), Lynne appeared in the July 1986 issue of Playboy, alongside the restaurant's story. Lynne went on to become one of Playboy's most popular Playmates.
Hooters (and the Hooters Girls) currently operate in 37 states in the US, and has locations in Canada, Britain, Puerto Rico, and Singapore. Though the menu primarily focuses on chicken wings and other sports-food related items, it has expanded to include full meals and scores of beverages.
"Corinne, for the record, will you please tell the court where you worked while you attended Medical school?"
"No further questions."
Did I mention those wonderful Hooters Girls?