Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters
- A viral tweet falsely claimed Hooters is shutting down and rebranding to appeal to millennials.
- The tweet appeared to cite information from a study reported in a 2017 article published by Insider.
- “There is no validity to this story,” Hooters of America said in a statement shared with Insider. “Our concept is here to stay.”
Ignore the rumors. Hooters is here to stay.
The restaurant chain dispelled murmurs that it plans to shutter and relaunch as a more millennial-friendly brand, after a viral tweet surfaced Wednesday stating otherwise.
“There is no validity to this story,” Hooters of America said in a statement shared with Insider. “Guests are enjoying this week’s televised sports events at our restaurants across the country and around the world in record numbers, accompanied by craveable menu items, cold beer and iconic hospitality. Our concept is here to stay.”
The tweet — posted by Daily Loud, a website focused on hip-hop and viral news — claimed Hooters “was shutting down and ‘rebranding’ after a new study found that millennials ‘aren’t that into boobs.'” It now has more than 31 million views.
The tweet has since been updated with a context note clarifying that it was referencing an Insider article about a study first published in 2017.
Hooters’ official account also tweeted a response Wednesday debunking the claims.
—Hootie (@Hooters) December 28, 2022
The 2017 study by Pornhub found younger people were less likely to search for breasts on pornography websites. It noted that the research was part of a larger trend of millennials being less inclined to visit “breastaurants” like Hooters and Twin Peaks compared to older generations.
The Insider story about the study added context about declining foot traffic and slumping sales at Hooters, which led to a period of closures between 2012 and 2016, and prompted a strategy shift that included a menu redesign and new decor intended to appeal to a wider millennial and female audience.
In 2017, Hooters opened a fast-casual spinoff chain called Hoots, designed to attract consumers looking to pick up food on-the-go, where employees “dress more modestly” than at traditional Hooters locations, Restaurant Business Online reported.
Hooters girls posing for a picture.
Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
In 2019, Hooters was sold to Nord Bay Capital and TriArtisan Capital Advisors, in a deal former Hooters CEO Terry Marks said at the time “comes at an ideal time for the company, bringing fresh partners with complementary skills and experience to support our next phase of growth to the benefit of all our employees, franchisees and customers.”
Hooters has since struggled to regain momentum. The company was especially hard hit by the pandemic, and encountered difficulty navigating stagnant sales and executive leadership shakeups. According to industry reports, between 2022 and 2021, Hooters of America closed a total of 37 stores, down to 303 in the US.
The company made headlines in 2021 after several employees pushed back against new revealing uniforms that included shorts so skimpy they described them as “like underwear.” After a series of viral TikTok videos shared by staffers, Hooters adjusted its policy to make the new uniforms optional.
In March 2022, the company closed on a $70 million, five-year loan, intended to be used “for working capital and general corporate purposes” according to a press release.