« Habitual refinancers may be forced to sell their homes | Main | Retailers move to put carbon footprint labels on products »

June 13, 2021

Why the 'breastaurant' model is so successful

During the clutches of the recession, when consumers tightened up and their spending followed suit, no one knew what to make of the restaurant biz.

Istockphoto_5224766-super-sexy-sports-bar-waitress-with-beer Some said we wouldn’t eat out at all. Others claimed we’d only buy McDonald’s Dollar Menu items. Some suggested the restaurant industry would bear the worst of the spoiled economy.

But as the dust of the downturn continues to settle, one thing has become clear. When money is tight, diners will still eat out, but they’re more likely to do so at restaurants that feature hot waitresses, cold beer and 45 plasma TVs. They’re more likely to visit the “breastaurant.”

Yes, this is a real term, and yes, this is becoming big business. You know Hooters, of course, but several more breastaurant chains are popping up, and they’re finding their … how best to say this … unique  customer service is what brings diners back, recession or not.

According to a new feature on Entrepreneur.com, the breastaurant is the hottest thing in chain dining these days. New names like Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks (yes, those kinds of peaks) are carving out valuable market share, and the dominant brand of the bunch, Hooters, is emerging as powerful as ever.

By Entrepreneur’s numbers, Hooters’ sales have increased each year since the recession began, averaging now about $1 billion a year. Privately-owned breastaurants Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks don’t divulge their revenue figures, but they’ve all rapidly expanded their U.S. presence over the past five, six years, Entrepreneur says.

Of course, men are the target audience here: “These concepts are growing by offering a different level of service and attentiveness,” a food industry consultant tells Entrepreneur.com. “They provide a service to men who may not have a person at home to care of them in the same way. That’s important to a number of people, and it drives them back.”

What’s interesting to note is that, if we concede that Hooters and like-minded breastaurants are churning more male diners through its doors, it appears that a) women (wives and girlfriends) must be more okay with this than before or, b) guys are just simply lying more. Chances are “But, honey, in times like these, I just want a familiar face serving me” isn’t a more acceptable excuse for frequenting the PG-13 strip club-style atmosphere of a breastaurant now than it was ten years ago.

“We make no bones about it – that’s what brings people in,” says Ron Lynch, CEO of Tilted Kilt, where waitresses serve food in plaid bras and skirts. “We sell on sex appeal, but we are sexy classy, sexy smart or sexy cute. Not sexy stupid or sexy trashy.”

What do you make of the breastaurant? Is visiting a Hooters or wherever more socially acceptable, especially among committed men, than it was five, ten, fifteen years ago?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...