You would think that it was a sure thing: scantily clad
waitresses bringing around huge platters of chicken wings and jugs of cod beer,
served up with a side order of banter and heavily innuendoed flirtation is surely
heaven for a red-blooded man who works hard all week to put food on the table.
This has long been the Hooters unique selling point: wholesome food and drink
offered with the promise of sexiness.
Now to be clear, Hooters is not, and never has been, a strip joint. There are strip joints that have upped their game into offering food, but Hooters has approached things from the other side, starting out as a pub/ café and slowly tweaking the business model to include buxom servers wearing skimpy clothing. The emphasis of Hooters has always been about going out for a couple of beers and some meat, with the attractive girls being very much something to look at and flirt with while you did so – no molestation or even platonic touching of any kind permitted at all.
Millennials, that allegedly fussy generation that is ‘killing’ everything, don’t like Hooters, which has seen a small but significant decline in its market share, and some experts (probably Boomers themselves who are signally adroit at foisting the blame for their fuck-ups onto their children's and grandchildren’s generations) are laying this firmly at the feet of millennials.
Now it is true that millennials are drinking much less than previous generations – this is because they cannot afford it. School leavers fifty years ago could find a mid-level job, earn enough with one salary to feed, house and clothe the whole family, and still be able to earn enough money to put down the deposit on a house within a couple of years. For millennials, graduates, masters degrees and even doctorates are not enough to guarantee them a job in their chosen field, and there are few jobs that offer the kind of financial security enjoyed by young people in the 50s and 60s.
Also, millennials are perhaps the first generation to have been raised with an understanding of societal gender disparity – they know that it is uncool to objectify one gender or the other and they further know that Hooter’s insistence on their waitresses squeezing themselves into short, tight clothing is demeaning to both the waitresses and their customers.
Finally, Hooters has literally lost some of its market share – it is no longer the only eatery offering mild sexual titillation along with beer and finger food. The others may not be as well known, but they are slowly but surely tempting away what had previously been a captive audience.So to summarise: millennials like boobs just fine (everyone likes boobs!) – they just don’t necessarily like them alongside expensive refreshments, nor with a side of sleaze.