Hooters has decided to shake things up a bit after declining sales has put the privately held American restaurant chain between a rock and a hard place.
Known for its buxom tank top-wearing waitresses, the Georgia-based company has traditionally been a magnet for groups of men looking to eat, drink and flirt with the ladies. Now, Darren Tristano, executive vice president at research firm Technomic, says sales have "flattened out.”
Tristano tells NBC News that while Hooters’ revenue peaked in 2007 at nearly $1 billion, he estimates that it has since fallen to around $850 million as of last year. The privately held company doesn't release sales figures.
The sales decline might help explain why the restaurant chain recently announced an overhaul aimed at making Hooters more female friendly and less of a man cave. The changes include adding more salads to its menu, remodeling stores and rolling out a series of ads to promote the makeover.
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Hooters debuted its first redesigned location in January, and the company said it gives customers "a more open and brighter appearance," thanks to higher ceilings and lighter colors.
"They're moving it forward, but it's a larger brand, so in order to move the needle, it's going to take some time," Tristano said.
Hooters’ rebranding comes not long after a franchise disagreement lead to the closing of all three Hooters locations in Long Island, N.Y. The location in Queens, which was owned by the same franchisee who own the Long Island locations, closed as well.
Reports have indicated that flagging sales as well as a disagreement between the franchisee and the corporation led to the closings.