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Hooters History

The 21st Century

So much has happened since we last wrote, where the heck do we start? Maybe where we left off? So far, the movie hasn’t been made yet (Hollywood was a little too slick and tricky for us Hooters yokels. You know the old saying, “folks are dumb where we come from?” Well, we actually believed what they told us! Duh!) and the radio show is still a bust (so to speak) but still kicking butt in its time slot, and many other positive things have happened along the way.

Probably because the food is good.

It’s 2002, and do you know where your Hooters are now? Well, not all with the Hooters Six anymore, who, in a gesture to further global harmony, sold their trademark to Bob Brooks, who promised the boys that he would treat the ‘mark well and take Hooters to the moon. So far, HOA has treated the mark well and we hope to see the first Hooters on the moon in the next few years. Or, not.

And they serve really good food.

Under the heading of “famous alumni,” (where is that heading, by the way?) one-time Hooters oyster shucker, Jon Gruden, became head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, prompting Hooters to publicly guarantee him that he could get his old job back if “the football thing doesn’t work out.” Droste, a good friend of Gruden’s, schmoozed hard to be able to use Jon’s photo in future advertising, to no avail.

Welcome to Tampa Jon Gruden Billboard

HOA took Hooters to the sky when Hooters Air marked its inaugural flight on March 6, 2003. Its wings were recently clipped in the face of rising gas and insurance costs, but, who knows, maybe someday we might have a Hooters rocket in space! Hooters Girl Astronauts?!?!? Why not? They’ve been called Rocket Scientists for years.

Hooters Air

Hooters in Iraq: Operation: Let Freedom WingTo Iraq, I ran. In May of 2003, Hooters hit the road with the Operation: Let Freedom Wing Tour, hosted by Armed Forces Entertainment, to entertain the troops in the ‘stans; Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Qatar. Hey, what’s that Qatar doing in here? Hooters Calendar Girls and UC3, a popular Hooters-sponsored singing girls’ group from the Tampa Bay area of Florida, flew with several HOA top guns and endured temperatures exceeding 112 degrees during their 16 day stay. The tour featured a 90 minute variety show packed with music and humor. UC3 performed selections from their debut CD as well as classic patriotic and “torch” songs such as the National Anthem, the 4 Service Anthems, and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

The show ended with a bang when UC3 sang “Anywhere USA” accompanied by 6 flag waving Hooters Calendar Girls sporting Hooters latest Military appreciation uniform, featuring camouflage patterned shorts and a tank top with the line “Weapons of Mass Distraction” on the back. The show, which was designed to resemble the classic Bob Hope USO tours, was described by many troops as the most fun and best attended morale show in years. Hooters of America Vice President of Marketing, Mike McNeil, who acted as the show’s MC, said, “It is an honor for the Hooters concept to be able to support the men and women in the service of our country. I was absolutely blown away at the positive reaction we received. I can’t imagine playing to a more appreciative audience.”

Hooters Calendar Girls in Iraq

During the tour, the Hooters Group distributed 2,000 Calendars; 20,000 Let Freedom Wing Lapel Pins; 10,000 posters and 10,000 decks of special Hooters Calendar playing cards featuring 2 special “Jokers” Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. The 7 shows were attended by over 15,000 troops and UC3 and the 6 Calendar Girls figure they signed over 100,000 autographs on the special tour merchandise.

Plans are already underway for a follow up tour. “We will definitely be ready to go again soon. There are a lot of troops we did not get a chance to see this time. Based on the considerable requests we received, we will have to figure out a way to take Hooters chicken wings, as well as the girls next time,” stated Mike McNeil.

During 2002, a cause close to our hearts came to the attention of the entire system, when longtime Hooters Girl, Calendar model/centerfold, and Hooters manager, Kelly Jo Dowd, was diagnosed with breast cancer. We continue to fight the good fight alongside Kelly Jo, donating money, time, and effort toward eradicating this dreaded disease, and, at the 2006 10th Annual Miss Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant, HOA presented Kelly Jo and her family with a check, pledging a million dollar grant toward research at the “V” foundation. Kelly Jo’s daughter, Dakoda Dowd, a young golfing phenomenon, made headlines in 2006 when, as a 13 year old, she qualified for, and played in, the LPGA tournament in order to fulfill her mother’s wish to see her play in a professional golf tournament.

Kelly Jo Dowd Check Acceptance

Viva Las Hooters! Always ones to gamble on a good time, the Hooters Six retained the rights to open a casino in Las Vegas. If you haven’t been to Hooters Casino Hotel, just off the strip on Tropicana, then you haven’t been to Vegas, baby. This casual, fun alternative to the giants on the strip, HCH brings a whole new unfussy element to Sin City, and compared to some, a little decorum, too. What?!? Decorum at Hooters? You check us out! You’ll soon see why we call ourselves, “The Cure for the Common Casino.” For you NASCAR fans, you’ll have to make a stop, because Hooters Casino Hotel is the proud owner of the actual car that Alan Kulwicki raced in the ’92 Winston Cup race to become champion. Don’t miss it!

Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Finally, after 23 years, your local Hooters has grown up enough to serve liquor! Wild and crazy, huh? After much debate (we love liquor, we love it not, we love liquor, we love it not, we love liquor. . .), it was decided that, given the fact that liquor was experiencing a phenomenal comeback (did it ever leave?), we should give the people what the people want. Well, we couldn’t give them that, so we decided to serve liquor instead. You look like you could use a drink, why not stop by Hooters today?

Hooters: Now Serving Liquor

And the food is good too!

And speaking of food… Hooters Foods expanded their food line to include frozen versions of our world famous wings and strips and buffalo shrimp. Guess what? They’re good! You can find these awesome items in the freezer section at select grocery outlets all around the U.S. and if you can’t find these awesome items, please ask your grocer immediately to stock Hooters Foods or you will picket the store. You will picket the store, right? Even if you don’t have time to picket, tell your grocer you want Hooters Foods.

Bob Brooks2007
And so the saga goes… and goes… and goes… who would have ever thought… ‘cause remember, thinking wasn’t a Hooters Six strong point… but as they got older (at least, the older ones) and the number of stores got plentiful (nearly 500 now in 27 countries) and the sales became bountiful (nearly 1 billion) and imitators became ridiculous (nearly everywhere), the 25th Anniversary in October of 2008 will be a time for celebration… a time for reflection… a time for the missing man in the wing formation. On July 15, 2006, HOA Chairman of the Board and Worldwide Wing Commander, Bob Brooks, passed away after a pair of decades “makin’ people happy” with Hooters. His able son, Cody, grabbed the baton (but not in the “twirling” sense) and quickly earned the respect of the collective Hooters system, accelerating expansion across the globe and re-instilling the commitment to quality and to charitable involvement from neighborhoods to nations.

When last you heard from us, the Hooters website was winning awards (okay, AN award) and was cutting edge for its time. That was 1999, right before the big Y2K scare, which turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. Fitting for the year ’00, don’t you think? Those of us at H’00ters weren’t the least bit afraid of any technology glitches though, maybe because we invented the internet – oh wait – that was Al Gore, wasn’t it? In 2007, we launched a whole new website (this one) with a whole new look (see?) and we expect those new awards to come rolling in any day now. You can even nominate us for one or two, if you want. As for the Hooters Four (formerly known as the Hooters Six), it has all become so heartwarming. Many current Hooters Girls weren’t even born when we opened the doors, and many great customers have passed on, but the experience of a refreshing day a the beach lives on, and now, when Americans and the world need their own “toga party” more than ever, we are happy to say…

Sit down and make yourself comfortable and if there is anything you require – within reason, of course – let us know.

And order something, because we have really good food.