As a British male, one of the first things I wanted to do when I moved to America was visit a Hooters restaurant. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed! The food, the drink and the whole atmosphere of the place made for a great night out with friends, but I couldn't help wonder what it was like for the women working there.
"Hooters Girls" have a certain reputation in pop-culture, and I couldn't help but question just how much of it was true. What really are the "requirements" needed to get a job at Hooters? What's it like to work around the customers? And why is it so damn popular? We contacted several current and former employees of the restaurant chain to find out what it's really like to don the bright orange short-shorts and work as a Hooters Girl.
1. Personality Over Experience
There are several "qualities" Hooters rate over previous work experience in the restaurant industry. It doesn't matter how many years experience you've got as a server, Hooters will always pick the girls with the best personality, as they believe customers come in to "connect" with the waitresses, not for the service.
2. We're Not "Servers"
It's not a coincidence that every waitress at Hooters is ridiculously good looking. Here is the impressive loophole Hooters have exploited...
Yes, Hooters is perfectly okay with hiring women they deem to be "the right size" and "pretty". This is because they don't hire their employees as "servers", but as "entertainers". Although I'm not sure Hooters is the best path into the entertainment industry.
3. Big "Hooters" Required?
It's often believed that you've got to have big breasts in order to bag yourself a job at Hooters. Well, this is far from the truth...
Well, that is just a rumor, and it simply isn't true. There is no certain bra size employees are required to have, and the restaurants will hire girls from an A-cup upwards! It really doesn't matter to Hooters.
4. The Bigger The Better
Now, just because the servers don't necessarily need a larger chest, that doesn't mean size doesn't help when it comes to the bank account...
Yes, although all sizes are welcome, the women at Hooters know that bigger breasts usually equal bigger tips from the customers. We were told that a lot of the employees will do what they can to "enhance" their "assets". Some simply pad their bras, whilst others will deliberately wear a bra size that is too small in order to boost their cleavage.
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5. Drawing The Famous Owl (In Ketchup)
All Hooters entertainers must go through training, and this is the bizarre skill they must perfect if they want to keep their job...
The owl featured in the Hooters logo has acted as the mascot for the chain since the very beginning. It's gone through some changes in recent years. but the "OO" boob-eyes have always remained tacky! Interestingly, the one skill all Hooters Girls must perfect is being able to draw an owl in ketchup - so artistic skills are a must.
6. The Dress Code
Everybody is familiar with the iconic orange short-shorts and tight Hooters vest top, but did you know that all employees must follow this dress code rule...
All Hooters entertainers must wear sneakers and socks as a part of their uniform, and the socks MUST be worn in a particular way. There is a particular "scrunch" to the socks which apparently makes their legs look leaner if done correctly.
7. Pantyhose Problems
As well as the socks, the pantyhose must also be a certain way. Oh, and Hooters will not supply them...
Yes, the Hooters girls must buy their own pantyhose, and they must be EXACTLY the correct type. Their official term for the color is "suntan" and employees must not wear any other color. The servers must also wear their hair down and not in a ponytail - so I hope it's not too hot in there for them!
8. Fancy Playing Dress Up?
The dress code doesn't stop there! Hooters girls MUST wear makeup on every shift. This includes mascara and lipstick, and their official website states how makeup “should appear natural to best accentuate your features”...
Also, Friday is the only day of the month the Hooters girls can wear black, and once a month most restaurants hold a special costume day. The catch? The girls must supply their own costumes. It could be country night, animals night, police night, nurse night - but the girls must fork out their own money.
9. Swapping Tops
Like soccer players, Hooters Girls also enjoy the occasional "shirt swap" with other employees in different cities...
If you ever go to a Hooters in Orlando and wonder why one of the girls is wearing a "Hollywood" location top, that because the employees are allowed to trade tops when they visit other chains. A Hooters girl in Boston will be wearing a "Chicago" top because she's visited and swapped with another Hooters Girl. The only location that won’t trade is Vegas because they have to abide by a specific rule.
10. Harsh Uniform Policy?
Some chains have incorporated a seasonal uniform based on their location. So in cold weather areas, the Hooters Girls can wear long sleeves...
But many believe the harshest rule is the fact that Hooters Girls cannot leave work with their uniform showing (apart from their trainers). If they are seen outside of work in their uniform, it's policy that they're fired immediately. It sounds harsh, but apparently, it's for safety reasons.
11. Secret Saleswoman
Funnily enough, a Hooters employee's responsibilities don't just end with serving food and drinks. They are also trained in the art of selling merchandise. And if they're good at this, they get certain perks...
If a Hooters Girl proves successful at selling merch, they will be rewarded with better shifts. Better shifts mean better tips, which mean more money. This sales tactic is all apart of a 16 step plan to Hooters Girls customer service. Another one is that during your dining experience, your table should be visited by three different Hooters Girls - so it's not because they like you.
12. Courtesy With Couples
The most popular customers from the Hooters Girls' perspective are college guys, as they are far more respectful than drunk 40-years-olds who feel like they're entitled to touch...
Sure, when men come in, it's all about showering them with attention. However, when a couple comes in, there are certain rules in place. Mainly, the Hooters Girls must never show the guy too much attention and appear threatening. One way they do this is to make sure they sit next to the woman and not the man.
13. No Hugs At Hooters
As mentioned before, the worst type of customers that come into the restaurants are the middle-aged, drunk businessmen who feel they are entitled to touch the staff...
However, although this isn't welcomed, it is actually outlined in the employee handbook that HUGS are forbidden between Hooters Girls and customers.
14. Bored Means Board Games
For many of us, a slow day at work can be extremely dull and boring. Well, that's not the case if you're a Hooters Girl...
Yes, if there are very few customers in the restaurant, it's not uncommon for the employees to play board games with the customers. It's not only fun for both the customers and the Hooters Girls, but it also helps pass the time. One of our sources recalls enjoying a game of Hungry Hippos with three firefighters.
15. Dance The Night Away
Dancing is another way employees entertain during the slower shifts. However, it's not as spontaneous as you may think...
However, this isn't a case of playing a great song, getting on the bar and just freestyling it, oh no! Hooters Girls learn choreographed dance routines during their training. Whenever they hear a particular song playing during their shift, they have to stop what they're doing and dance.
16. "Hooters Virgin"
Whether you're a great singer or a terrible one, all Hooters Girls are forced to sing certain songs and chants for different scenarios. The obvious one is for birthdays, but...
A "Hooters Virgin" is basically somebody who has never been to a Hooters before. If they find out from your friends that it's your first time, they won't go gentle on you. The protocol is to sit the "Hooters Virgin" on his own, and the girls will surround him, sing and dance to the point where they look stupid and the guy is embarrassed, and then everyone gets on with their day. And for those of you who are wondering, the song is sung to the tune of the "hokey pokey".
17. No Cell Phones!
Cell phones are strictly banned from the restaurant floor for Hooters Girls. However, this is apparently what managers do if they suspect you've got one...
Now, although this never happened to any of the girls we spoke to, they did say it has happened in other chains. Basically, all Hooters Girls are supplied with a fanny pack-like pouch to carry their menu pad, pens etc. around with them. If a manager suspects that you're storing a cell phone, they have been known to take the pouch and smash it against a wall in order to break whatever shouldn't be in there. Sounds a bit harsh...
18. Free Meal (But Only If It's "Healthy")
There are a lot of places in America that let their employees enjoy a free meal during their break. At Hooter's the employees are allowed a free meal, but only if they choose this...
Employees are only allowed a free meal off the "healthy" menu. If you haven't seen the "healthy" menu, that's because it doesn't appear on the regular menu. It seems that Hooters will feed their Girls for free if supports their weights and waistlines - if the girls want other items on the menu, they have to pay at a discounted price. Oh, but fries remain at full price.
19. Employee "Perks"
So, we know that Hooters can control the uniform, makeup, and waistlines, but how far will they go to have their girls look a certain way?!
In order to maintain a certain body look, some restaurants offer their employees discounts for tanning and gym memberships. Yes, that may sound great, but what if you're not into that sort of thing? One of the girls we spoke to said this actually knocked her confidence throughout her employment. Hooters may say that they don't require their employees to look a certain way, but they'll do anything they can to try.
20. "Hi! Welcome To Hooters!"
This is SUPPOSED to happen every time you walk into a Hooters. Have you noticed this?
It is actually company policy for each of the girls to shout, "Hi! Welcome To Hooters!" So if you've never heard this, then they're not doing their job at your local store. The girls we spoke to said that this doesn't last, as over the duration of a shift they lose their stamina for an over-the-top greeting.
21. How Much Do Hooters Girls Earn?
In America, we know that 99% of servers earn minimum wage plus tips. But you'd expect Hooters Girls to earn more, right?
Well, it doesn't matter about all that extra notoriety that comes with the chain, Hooters Girls are also earning minimum wage plus tips. Sure, some can earn more by flirting and making sales, but they're on minimum too. So please tip accordingly.
22. Wives Hate Them
Hooters doesn't pride itself on good food. It prides itself on beautiful women and a good atmosphere. However, the restaurant's still frequented by a lot of families and couples. Not all of whom are happy to be there. These are the customers that Hooters Girls hate...
As we already know, Hooters girls will do everything in their power not to seem threatening to other women when they're serving couples, but that doesn't mean that they're totally out of the woods with wives. In fact, one of the girls we spoke to said that a woman once ordered for her husband because she didn't want him talking to her!
23. Hooters Girls Don't Date Customers
Next, to the girls who grace the pages of Playboy magazine, few women in America are as desired as Hooters Girls. It'll come as no surprise then to hear that everyone we interviewed said they were given numbers during each of their shifts. But there was one thing that was never going to happen...
It's highly unlikely/impossible that you'll ever get to date a Hooters Girl. After each shift, the numbers they've been given along with their tips almost always make their way into the trash. To put this in context, one of the girls we interviewed said that during her six years working at the restaurant she never once saw a Hooters Girl go on a date with a customer.
24. Friends For Life
Even if you're beautiful enough to work at Hooters, that doesn't mean you'll be immune from heartache. It turns out that working in a large group of women has its perks whenever a guy does the dirty on you, and you find yourself crying into your buffalo wings before your shift starts...
Every one of the girls we spoke to said that they made friends for life whilst working at Hooters. One even said that it helped her get over a particularly nasty break up when the girls in the restaurant went out of their way to cheer her up after her fiancé cheated on her.
25. Customers Ask For Advice
If you've ever looked at the price of counseling, then you'll know that it's extremely pricey. So what do you do if you're a well-intentioned husband or boyfriend in need of relationship advice? You go to the restaurant where the staff are encouraged to talk to you...
Hooters Girls aren't the loose women that many wives think they are. In reality, they give husbands and boyfriends advice on how to make their relationships work. Not every man who visits the restaurant has one thing on his mind. One of the girls we interviewed said a customer once gave her $1,000 for saving his marriage. Speaking of extremely large tips...
26. The Biggest Tips Make It Worth It
Hooters Girls might be getting paid for their good looks and personalities, but it can seriously pay off when it comes to counting their tips at the end of the night. Whilst most customers can't afford to tip them more than what you'd expect to be tipped in a restaurant, there's some who go all out...
Regular customers and those who're feeling particularly generous will tip their Hooters waitress extremely well. It's not unheard of for Hooters Girls to be gifted cars. However, it's more likely that good customers will spoil them when it's their birthday with soccer tickets or even a holiday!