As We See It

Hooters Casino Hotel is no novelty, and that’s the problem

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Delightfully tacky: Before she was Arianny Celeste, UFC ring girl, she was Arianny Lopez, Hooters girl (left).
Jae C. Hong, AP

When the “Hooters Six” opened their first restaurant in 1983, their reasoning was basic: “What else brings a gleam to men’s eyes everywhere besides beer, chicken wings and an occasional winning football season?” Today, Hooters is a global empire. The servers still wear orange micro-shorts and tight white tanks, while the chicken wings have evolved from classic barbecue to Honey Thai Chili Pepper. Perhaps the gourmet upgrade is aimed at wives and girlfriends who don’t relate to the “Grab Some Hooters” shtick. Those same wives and girlfriends may be a major reason the local Hooters Casino Hotel goes tits up, so to speak. The main creditor of the failing property, Canpartners Realty Holding Co. IV, filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court last week opposing the casino’s plan to continue seeking capital, a merger or a buyer after years of trying. Canpartners says it holds most of the casino’s purported debt of more than $180 million and argues that Hooters tanked as a resort concept. According to consultants, one big factor is that the brand doesn’t resonate with women. In this particular city, it might not resonate with men either. Having your burger with a side of boobs is a novelty in Mishawaka, Indiana. In Vegas, it’s about as unique as a yard-long cocktail.

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