The formula is simple: good food, pretty girls and cold beer.
Hooters girls from Ohio and Illinois train our Manila Hooters girls
One wonders how Hooters, a restaurant known for its scantilly clad waitresses, can thrive in the ever-so-censored mainstream Manila mall area. The answer is simple. Good lighting makes everything seem wholesome. Colorful menus, playfully cluttered interior design (complete with witty slogans strewn across the walls) and golden oldies wafting through the speakers keep the atmosphere family-friendly. They keep the lights almost cafeteria-bright - all the better to stare at the famous waitresses. It's impossible to talk about Hooters without talking about the waitresses. I mean, how can you not notice? If it isn't the generous cup size trend, it has to be the neatly silhouetted legs that begin in Tide-white rubber shoes and stop at buoy-orange short, short,shorts.
Look around and there are signs that tell you 'Tips make Hooters Girls Happy'. And by happy, do they mean periodical breaks into dance numbers? It is something to see for your self. They have choreographed yet informal dance numbers, which I'm sure are effective enough to get people away from their food (or drinks) for a clumsy jig in between bites. The best thing about these sudden bursts into dance is they come with every dine-in experience. As if your senses weren't under attack already, not a single square inch is spared from having a role in the whole restaurant ambiance. From the merchandise on display to the bathroom signs, their welcome message says it all.
Hooters makes you happy.
When to Go. The thing about Hooters is it's so popular, you have to get in line for everything. You have to get in line to wait. You have to wait to be waited on. Fortunately, they have nifty hula hoops that keep kids and grownups busy while waiting. To avoid all this waiting, try dropping by before dinner time, or on a weeknight. However, if you're the type that believes more is merrier, braving the eager, hungry crowd can be fun.
The Scene. The Hooters shirts are everywhere. Unapologetically tacky, and of course, unrefined. Hooters seems to be targeting the you and me folk. I'm not so sure it will work. In this digitally obsessed age, who would buy a shirt when you can just have your picture taken for a souvenir? With a bunch of smiling, happy (and of course, beautiful) people at that? I mean, that's service, really, when things are going crazy all over the place and your waitress still manages to come by your table and ask you how you're doing, with a smile that doesn't look pasted on. Come on. How do they do it? Hooters customers cover the spectrum of families with kids to barkadas to couples to businessmen (out of breath yet?). It's safe to say that Hooters is for everyone.
What to Eat. A restaurant is not a restaurant without good food (even when you have Hooters girls walking around). I have to say that Hooters does not neglect this important factor. Famous for their Chicken Wings (I got the Boneless Wings for Php 275) which can be ordered breaded, naked, or even boneless, Hooters offers other worthwhile gustatory ventures as well. The Fried Pickles are indeed addictive, as the menu claims, and they pile them up in a pretty mountain. The Cheese Quesadillas (Php 350) are satisfying, and they go well with your favorite beer, which is poured in a frosted glass. The Frozen 1983 Margarita (Php 300) goes down smoothly, and comes with a bit of restaurant history, too. The Training Burgers (Php 240) are deceptively miniature, but if you find your stomach willing, the Fish and Chips (Php 295) are fresh and melt-in-your mouth, too.
Somehow, they managed not to devalue what they serve on the plates, although I'm not sure I can say the same about the people holding the plates. I don't know about you, but I'm a bit iffy about barely dressed women bringing my food and pouring my drinks. They even smile at you when you make eye contact. Of course, that could be a good thing. As the Hooters philosophy goes, good food, pretty women, and cold beer don't go out of style. But why do the pretty women have to wear nearly nothing?
Insider Tips. If there's anything Hooters is doing right, it's keeping the customers happy. It definitely isn't the place to go when you're really hungry, or in a hurry. The point is to hang around and take everything in. Considering the fact that some waitresses are nicer to look at than to actually order from (it is my duty as a responsible source to tell you, there was one waitress who actually asked me what the Quesadillas were. I mean, at least know what you're serving, right? To said waitresses credit, she was very honest and apologetic when she explained it was her first time being a waitress). Kids below 8 years old eat free on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so grab a kid and have a happy time at Hooters.
Hooters is located at San Miguel by the Bay, Esplanade, SM Mall of Asia.
Main image by Karl Bustamante. Thumb taken from Hooters.com.