Sunday, June 24, 2012
Breastaurant Boom: Hooters-style eateries experience a mini-boom
Foxnews The waitresses at Twin Peaks wear skimpy plaid tops that accentuate their chests.
In case you didn't catch the joke, the chain's logo is an image of two pointy, snow-capped mountains. And the sports bar doesn't stop there: It promises "scenic views."
Twin Peaks owner Randy DeWitt downplays all of that and insists that the appeal of the restaurant goes beyond the obvious. Hearty meals and a focus on making customers feel special, he says, are what really keeps them coming back.
"We believe in feeding the ego before feeding the stomach," he says. Or as the website of the mountain lodge-themed restaurant states, "Twin Peaks is about you, `cause you're the man!"
Twin Peaks is part of a booming niche in the beleaguered restaurant industry known as "breastaurants," or sports bars that feature scantily clad waitresses. These small chains operate in the tradition of Hooters, which pioneered the concept in the 1980s but has struggled in recent years to stay fresh.
Instead of relying on lust alone, the new crop of restaurants is growing by offering new themes (think: rustic lodges and Celtic pubs) and varied menus (think: pot roast and shepherd's pie instead of just burgers and wings). In other words, they're hoping maybe people really are coming in for the food.
The nation's top three "breastaurant" chains behind Hooters each had sales growth of 30 percent or more last year, according to Technomic, a food industry research firm. They still represent less than 1 percent of the nation's top restaurants, but the upstart chains are benefitting as other mid-priced options like Applebee's and Bennigan's have experienced declines during the economic downturn.