Sex or Wings?

What are they really selling?

For my Paper 2 Company I am going to look at Hooters.  I think this is a very interesting company that has a very unique strategy for success.  Check out the Hooters website for some light reading but some really attractive pictures of the employees, the Hooters Girls.  If you look around the site you can find that Hooters has ironically been raising money for a Breast Cancer Research Foundations.  If you look at the About page you will see that next to the company’s mission statement, a really gorgeous blonde.

The Mission Statement “Our mission is to provide a family of hospitality and services that achieves excellence and enhances lifestyles of all who come in contact with the Hooters brand.”

The Restaurant Mission Statement “We are committed to providing an environment of employee growth and development so that we can provide every guest a unique, entertaining dining experience in a fun and casual atmosphere delivered by attractive, vivacious Hooters Girls while making positive contributions to the communities in which we live.”

Below these statements it says HOOTERS MAKES YOU HAPPY!!  If you return to the main homepage there are opportunities to look at the Swimsuit Competition Winners Gallery, the Hooters Girls Calender, and the Hooters Girls Hall of Fame.  These pages are all fairly degrading to women and the woman body.  If you click on the “Want to be a Hooters Girl? link you can see the advice on how to look, dress, and exercise.  It talks about the look of a Hooters Girl and how to become a Hooters Girl.  If you are even more interested in becoming or learning about the life of a Hooters Girl you can watch the youtube video below (which you need to confirm your age in order to watch.  Is it porn?  No.  But it is ironic.)

Are the business practices ethical?  That is what I want to look into.  Are you selling food?  Sex?  Hot bodies?  An experience?  Do women and children enjoy this aspect of Hooters?  I am curious to do more research and find more about this company.

I do not have anything against the company, I even told my Dad when I was younger that I wanted to be a Hooters girl.  He didn’t like that too much.  I went through the Global Context Issues Database and found many articles about Hooters.  I read through a few of them and learned about the EEOC’s scrutiny of the company for not hiring men, and the current craze of “breastaurants” like Hooters.

I will focus on the company’s overall strategy and hiring processes, with a focus on the ethical principles behind the company.  Based on my initial research the company seems pretty degrading towards women.  I recently found an article in the NYTimes about how Hooters is re-organizing their marketing strategy focusing on women and families.  Are they changing the outfits?  Or the requirements to work their?  No.  They are making the inside of the restaurants lighter and the menu healthier.  Do women really want to eat with another girls’ breasts in their face?  Hm.  I am pretty pumped to write this paper.


10 thoughts on “Sex or Wings?

  1. This is going to be an interesting paper. I can see how many people find the restaurant degrading, and it will be interesting to see where the problems stem from. Personally, I dont see issues with their hiring process as they are just targeting “qualified” individuals. Like an accounting firm looking college graduates with accounting degrees, Hooters is simply looking for the best fit candidate that will fit in with their atmosphere. An candidate who knows nothing about accounting is not going to succeed in a business where clients looking for the brightest accountants, and a male waiter at Hooters is not going to succeed at a restaurant where customers are looking for “something else”.

    That being said, I do think there are some very real problems with the company, and that it shows an underlying problem with gender roles in society. I think that if there is anything unethical about the restaurant chain, it is the overall image of the restaurant and what they represent in society.

    • I think the part that could be unethical with hiring for certain qualifications is how it is based on image. Colleges and Job applications are not allowed to ask for pictures with the application because it should be based on credentials. Here you cannot get hired unless you have certain measurements and a certain looks. I don’t know… just a thought!

  2. Breastaurants? That’s hilarious. I actually went to a Hooter’s restaurant one time with a bunch of friends (guys and girls) just to see what it was like. With mediocre food, it’s definitely clear what they are trying to sell. Not wings. When we went we told the waitress that it was one of my friend’s birthdays and she was forced to stand on top of the table and dance with a big hat on. Extremely embarassing, degrading, but hilarious. The guys definitely enjoyed the experience much more than the girls that’s for sure.

    • Alexandra, I actually disagree with you. I’ve been to Hooter’s I think twice and enjoyed the food throughly. The wings are quality and the food is essentially good bar food. We might just have different tastes but I could see it as a good place to watch football. There’s a realy funny clip from an Office episode when Michael and Jim go to Hooter’s (summary – Michael asks for a Chicken breast without the Chicken) but I couldn’t find it on YouTube. True Office fans know what I’m talking about.

  3. I think this will definitely be an interesting company to look into. When a company is acting unethical, normally it is occurring behind the scenes. That is not the case for Hooters. However, this topic gets me thinking… if this is considered unethical, then are strip clubs unethical? Can it be considered unethical if the company is in the business of doing whatever we are calling unethical?

  4. If you take the time to read through the comments everyone please notice that the gentlemen are defending it and the girls are questioning the ethical principles wondering if it is in fact unethical … very interesting!

  5. Breast Cancer Research Foundations. Isn’t this simply enlightened self-interest? I mean, doesn’t Patagonia care about the quality of natural spaces? Doesn’t Ford care about the quality of roads?

  6. Courtney, I love this idea. Hooters definitely seems to have questionable ethics. I’ve never been to the restaurant, but I have heard stories. It seems pretty clear that Hooters is mostly working to create an experience rather than quality food and service. And I also noticed that there seems to be a gender divide. Even in my own experiences, the girls I know who have been to Hooters always criticize the food and say it’s not very good; guys, on the other hand, defend it and as Mike said see it as “a good place to watch football.” Somehow I don’t believe that that’s the reason for Hooters’s appeal…

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