America’s Best Known Restaurant Goes East | Global Franchise
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Thursday 11th August, 2022

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America’s Best Known Restaurant Goes East

Case Study

America’s Best Known Restaurant Goes East

If you’re aiming to master-franchise a brand with worldwide brand recognition, then take a hard look at Hooters, the fast-accelerating restaurant chain now expanding in the Far East

The first Hooters opened its doors in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida. From these humble beginnings, the Hooters brand has grown to include more than 425 locations in 42 US states and 26 countries. Today, the brand – known worldwide for its Hooters’ style chicken wings – continues its global expansion, with over 22 new locations opening in 2016, many of these in the Asia market.

With over 100 commitments for future franchise development, Hooters has plans to continue its growth in multiple markets across Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Cambodia and, for the first time, Hong Kong, in 2016. In addition, restaurants will continue to be built in China, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan. Furthermore, Hooters continues to ramp up its new corporate development in the US, with at least eight new restaurants opening in 2016 and at least 12 planned to open annually for the next few years.

In addition to new restaurant growth, Hooters’ remodelling program continues at a blistering pace with an additional 30 corporate remodels in 2016, as well as at least 20 franchise remodels. By the end of 2016, Hooters will have over 140 restaurants built to the new prototype design. Most recently, our Singapore location which was the first Hooters in Asia, was remodelled to our current prototype image.

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 favourite sporting event.

Hooters is renowned for its diverse and craveable menu, which includes fresh entree salads, a great lineup of hand-formed burgers, delicious seafood dishes, and fan-favourite fried pickles. Of course, Hooters Girls always serve their world-famous traditional and boneless chicken wings with Buffalo sauce favourites, which range in heat from mild to 911, as well as additional signature sauces and rubs, such as teriyaki-style samurai, lemon pepper and chipotle honey.

Hooters has a recipe for success that has been going strong for over three decades. And with the launch of our new prototype building design in June 2013, along with continued menu enhancements and new product offerings, Hooters is paving the way for the next 30 years of success. While the brand may be changing some things to prepare for the future, one thing will always remain the same: Hooters will always make customers happy.

As part of this accelerated growth, Hooters is actively seeking qualified franchise partners to join the team and open new locations in various markets across the U.S. and around the globe. According to Senior Vice President of Development, 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.

Hooters continues to seek new franchisees throughout the world, and there are numerous opportunities for development with new partners in Asia. 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 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 sites in various Asia markets for its existing franchise partners that are aggressively growing the brand.

The ideal franchisee, Mark says, is someone who has operated multiple restaurants in a given market, or someone who’s entering the project with access to an experienced partner. Also key is a desire to develop multiple restaurants. “The three common elements with our largest franchisee partners in Asia (Destination Resorts, Pacific Wings, and Hooters Japan), 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.

About Hooters of America, LLC

Hooters of America, LLC is the franchisor and operator of more than 425 Hooters restaurants in 41 states and 27 countries. When the first restaurant was created in Clearwater, expectations were so modest 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. For more information about Hooters, visit www.Hooters.com or follow us at www.Twitter.com/Hooters, www.Facebook.com/Hooters, www.Instagram.com/Hooters or on Snapchat at “hootersLIVE”

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