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Hooters (US) Continues its Global Expansion

08 Apr 2019 - Known for its world-famous Hooters Style chicken wings, the first Hooters opened its doors in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida.While everyone knows about our world-famous wings, juicy burgers and fresh seafood, the real secret to Hooters’ success is the exceptional customer service. That level of service starts with a system-wide commitment to making our customers happy, and is ultimately delivered by the Hooters Girls. Much more than a waitress, the Hooters Girl is a globally recognized icon who makes sure everyone is having a good time in a warm and inviting environment.

Hooters continues its global expansion, with over 20 new locations opening in 2019 and over 100 commitments for future franchise development worldwide. Hooters plans continue its Franchise growth in multiple markets across the globe, as well as continues to ramp up its corporate development in the US. In addition to new restaurant growth, Hooters’ remodeling program continues on with over 200 restaurants built on its most current prototype design.

Hooters’ 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 mouthwatering 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!

Over the last 36 months, Hooters franchisees have continued to grow across the globe. Hooters entered the Thailand market for the first time in June 2014, and the franchisee has already reached six (6) locations in the country, with more to come in the future. Just south of the border, our franchisees in Mexico have done a phenomenal job growing the brand with twelve (12) new locations over the past three (3) years, with another twelve (12) locations to be opened by 2022. Further South in the Americas, Hooters has opened four (4) new locations in Colombia and Bolivia in the last fifteen (15) months, with three (3) additional locations to be developed in Bolivia by early 2020. Across the pond in Europe, Hooters opened first ever location in Hamburg, Germany in January 2018. In addition, our existing franchisees are actively seeking sites for new restaurants in their markets.

Hooters continues to seek new franchisees throughout the world, and there are numerous opportunities for development with new partners in Europe, in addition to countries across the globe. 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."

The ideal franchisee 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 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, 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.

In terms of markets, Whittle says, Hooters is predominantly looking at markets with populations of at least 150,000 in five miles with a middle to upper middle income base, a high preponderance of daytime activity and a strong workplace population 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. Hooters is always looking for new locations in corporate and franchise markets.