PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Call it a sign of the times. Hooters is about to open a new restaurant that will hire men as servers.
The new restaurant, scheduled to open later this month near Chicago, will be called Hoots, the Florida-founded restaurant chain announced this week.
It will feature an abbreviated menu with scaled-down versions of the classic Hooters restaurants most popular foods, including chicken wings. The concept calls for customers to order at the counter as opposed to table service.
Hoots will employee both male and female servers, but don't expect the guys to be wearing the traditional "Hooters girl" uniform -- tight white tank-top shirts, orange shorts, suntan pantyhose, white socks and white shoes. The new fast-casual concept will toss the scantily clad outfits that have made Hooters a recognizable brand throughout the world.
"We have a lot to learn, but we are excited about the potential," Terry Marks, president and CEO of Hooters of America, the company's franchiser, said in a statement.
Hooters has been the target of several discrimination lawsuits, including in 1997 when three men from the Chicago area sued the restaurant after being denied employment. As part of a settlement, Hooters agreed to pay them $3.75 million and to create other support jobs, like bartenders and hosts, that must be filled without regard to sex.
The original Hooters opened in Clearwater in 1983.