Forget everything you thought about Hooters and the women who work there. The Hooters girls, patrons, and even kitchen staff describe what life is really like for the infamous, controversial, and oh-so-gorgeous Hooters Girls.
"We recently banned an old creepy man from my Hooters. He would come in, pay girls for their phone numbers, then sends them nasty pictures in hopes of reciprocation. I'm ended up having to serve him once and I told him I didn't have a phone and he said, 'Baby, I'll buy you a phone.' I bluntly denied his offer and he comes back with, 'Well maybe I could buy you something from Victoria's Secret,' and proceeded to guess my bra size with terrifying accuracy. I stopped service. During my next shift, he showed up with a Victoria's Secret and a T-Mobile bag. Thus, he was banned from Hooters."
"I have many stories from my year spent wearing those awful orange shorts, but my favorite by far is the older 'gentleman' who in dead seriousness grabbed my wrist and asked, 'How much do you sell yourself for?'
He's a close second to the guy who left me a note along with his phone number that said, 'I'd really like to feel you from the inside.'"
"I went to a Hooters with a bunch of business guys from different companies, and this one dude sees the waitress putting on lipstick and says, 'Just like a whore,' in this kind of repressed, hateful, 'I have duct tape and a van' kind of voice.
And he wasn't kidding.
And she heard him.
We are all like, 'Wtf, dude. You need to leave.'
Every one of the rest of us apologized and gave her $20. It was a bizarre deal.
I mean, I'm a guy and I was creeped out."
"Former Hooters girl here. I would have men who think that you're flirting with them, wives that get mad because they think that you're flirting with their husbands, teenagers who think it's cool to cop a feel, and a manager who would put us through a really long, super invasive inspections every day. He'd make us line up while he checked for any imperfections (hair, makeup, tights, shoes) and they'd go on forever. He always put his hands through my hair."
"I was a cook at Hooters and they used to have birthday boys stand on a stool and shake condiments while the girls sing to them. Well, one day the ketchup cap came off, it was an old school glass bottle with a metal lid. Mr. White Trash Chic proceeded to whip the ketchup at the girls like it was champagne and he was in a rap video. I have never seen the girls go from zero to furious that fast. The uber b---- at our restaurant yelled 'You stupid, motherf---er!' and the manager kicked him out. The cooks and I tried our best not to laugh our a--es off."
"I was a Hooters girl for a summer, and there were pros and cons just like any other job.
My worst story: I was serving a man who was there by himself (very common) and had been at one of my tables for about 4 hours (also pretty common). He asked if he could give me shoulder massage. Another Hooters girl had already let him give her one, and since I was his actual server, I figured hey, I should probably let him too because let's be honest - you work for your tips. So I'm standing in front of this man with my back to him, and he's massaging my shoulders, it actually feels pretty good...when WAIT A MINUTE. Dude starts kissing my neck from behind. Romantically. Like what the f---. I of course stepped away and he left soon after, with a $75 tip or something like that behind, but I still obviously felt violated. This is just one example of when a customer got too touchy - and it was always very frustrating when people somehow felt like they had the right to do things like that.
The daily uniform inspections were just as invasive/particular as some of the other girls have described. Makeup has to be done, hair completely down and heat styled with no pins or clips. Nails have to be natural or French tipped. Only jewelry allowed were stud earrings or wedding rings. Managers would make us change to smaller sizes if they felt our tops weren't tight enough. We got examined every shift.
There were also the guys who would SOMEHOW find me on Facebook, even though I lived in a different city than the one I worked in, and my profile had no mentions of Hooters. They only knew my first name, which is a fairly common one, so they must have done some hard searching, which is uncomfortable.
Mostly, though, it was a fun job. I became friends with the girls I worked with and the tips were awesome. I wouldn't go back, but my time there was filled with more positive experiences than bad ones."
"I am a dude and I witnessed this at a Hooters last night. We (just me and my buddy) sit down at a high top and there is a younger guy alone at the table next to us. It wasn't very crowded. At one point I overhear the waitress saying, 'I can't go outside.' Apparently, he was asking if she would walk him to his car and give him a kiss. She told us the whole story of this guy.
He drives an hour about every 2-3 days to come to that specific Hooters to see her. Has left his number multiple times and obviously hasn't gotten the picture. He leaves and we go one with our meal. About 20-30 mins later the waitress walks by our table and says, 'He's back.' The dude walked in and used the restroom and walked back out to his car. Gets back in his car and drives slowly by, looking in.
At this point, we thought he left and about 10 mins later we (my friend and I) walk out and the dude is sitting out there in the car waiting for her shift to end. I went back in and told the manager to make sure the waitress wasn't followed by him.
It's guys like that that make girls look at guys as creeps."
"There were some good managers that worked hard and just simply did their jobs with no inappropriateness. But one manager did cruel things to the girls, like forcing them to have a contest to find out who could eat off of a plate with their hands behind their back the fastest in order to get, like, an extra break or something. It was f---ed up."
"I once was walking down Sunset Boulevard when a few guys ran past me like they were being chased. A girl in Hooters attire was casually jogging behind them, easily keeping pace, and calmly shouting, 'Boooooys! Don't run off! I need you to come back and pay your tab!' I don't know how it turned out, but she looked ready to keep that pace for miles. I feel like she probably caught them."
"I worked at Hooters for a little bit, on one of my rare day shifts there was a man that came in, looked a little messy, and asked to be seated with the hottest girl. It was just me and the hostess up there, so I told him to look around and pick one. He chose me, I tried to get out of it, but he insisted. I sat him down and while taking his drink order he pulled out a gallon sized Ziplock bag of prescriptions and started taking a few out. I walked away from him to get his drink and came back and set it down. He told me to sit down with him, then continued to talk about how great I looked walking away from him. Then continued about how my a-- was perfect and what he'd do to it and how he'd like to see it naked and so on. I got up and went to my GM and told him about what happened, he told the guy to leave, the guy left me a dollar. Not so bad...
There was a regular that came in during the daytime hours, which I rarely worked as I said, he was f---ing loaded. Like, rich as f---. I didn't say one word to him, and knew nothing about him, and randomly somehow it came up that he'd buy me anything, I laughed and was like yeah right, and without hesitation or breaking eye contact he said, 'I'm serious, what do you want?' This guy would literally buy you a car, pay your rent, whatever you wanted. But of course, that wasn't free. I never considered anything, but apparently, some of the girls I worked with were friendly with him. If you sat with him for one hour without leaving, and talk to him, he'd give you $100. Kind of sad if you ask me, but the other girls didn't care.
This happened to my best friend while working there, one of the regulars stopped her and talked to her about how nice her lips are, how soft they look, and how he wanted to touch them. He asked if her 'top' lips were like her 'bottom' lips and how he wanted to touch them, too, and so on. She was so uncomfortable with him, yet he came in almost every day. She even refused to serve their table and told the GM; he did nothing and told her she had to.
That's all I can remember right now. For the most part, it was a fun job. I loved the girls I worked with, and the money was great most nights."
"I was a Hooters girl for a few months. I was 18, in high school, and had moved out of my mom's place. My mom had never allowed me to cut my hair short, so I cut it all off as soon as I moved out (I had the Kate Gosselin cut before she was a thing).
Anyhow, I started working there before it opened. Many of the girls made friends with each other but I was always kind of left out. I didn't really get why. I was nice, got along with everyone, and wasn't competitive with anyone there.
One day in the bathroom, I was getting ready for work with a few other girls. Part of the uniform there is makeup. I don't wear the stuff often; pretty much only wear it on special occasions or on days when I am just feeling down and want to look extra pretty. So, I wore the bare minimum-- lip gloss and mascara.
One of the other girls approached me and asked why I didn't wear foundation and why I always came in bare-faced. I explained I wasn't really into makeup and just didn't wear it except for at work. She then replied, 'So...you are a lesbian, right?'
I was just kind of shocked. I told her no and asked why she thought that. She explained most of the girls there thought I was a lesbian because of my hair and my lack of makeup. I just told her she and all the girls were wrong and it's just who I am. She got a stupid smile on her face and said, 'Alright. No judging here, just so you know!'
So- they all thought I was gay. Fine. I was taking home $200 a night and in high school with very few bills. Those chicks went out after work almost every night to a strip club (a female strip club), but I was the lesbian.
This is the reason none of them really talked to me and why I was left out of all the cliques.
A few days later, I was in a car wreck and received airbag burns on my face. I stayed out of work for a week while recovering. When I came back, I still had a few burns healing, one of which was on the corner of my mouth. Every time I smiled it would crack open again. B---- took FOREVER to heal.
A couple days after I came back, I was doing my thing, making that money, and one of my tables waved me over. They asked me if I had a cold sore on my mouth and suggested an ointment for it. I explained what it was and thanked them for their concern. They looked confused and said, 'Well, that girl said it was a cold sore and suggested we should watch what you touch.'
I asked them if they would be okay with telling my manager that, and they said yes. I brought the manager out. He listened, thanked them and asked about their service, food, etc and then asked me to meet him in his office.
He yelled at me. Told me I shouldn't have asked them to talk to him and told me to never bring him out for 'he said, she said' again. I explained to him that other girls there were hateful and always gave me issues (bartender made my drinks last, the hostess gave me the s---ty tippers, etc). He said I was imagining it and to get over myself.
The next week, the girl who said I had the cold sore showed up with a bunch of her friends. They requested my section.
I served them well, like I did everyone, got the discount on their bill, and brought them each separate bills, as they requested.
I went to grab some drinks for another table (which I had to wait forever for, thanks, b----), and when I got back, they were gone. There was a $20 on the table. Their total bill was over $60.
I immediately got the manager (same a--hole as before) and he said, 'Well, maybe you weren't there to make change and they had to go.'
Seriously. That was his response. He did offer to remove everything from their bill except $20-worth.
I was pissed. It was bulls---. I had been gone 5 minutes. He was obviously on her side for one reason or another.
I went to clean off their table and they had set the beer pitcher up in a way with napkins that it flipped over and spilled everywhere when I moved a cup that was up against it. Beer poured all over the table, floor, my tights, my shoes, my socks, my little pouch thing, my cash, my tickets- everything.
I quit. I went to the manager's office, gave him my beer-soaked pouch with tickets and cash, and told him he could kiss my a--.
Never went back. Didn't get any of the tips for that day as I didn't 'close out,' but I didn't care. F--- that place.
"I was working a party of 8 that turned into 18 (they were coworkers as I recall, and sort of slowly showed up in pairs after the initial 8-top). I was certainly weeded, but for a Tuesday night this was an unexpected surprise, and as servers do, I rolled with it. There was a guy that had been sort of flirty from the get-go. Very common. Anyway, a particular cocktail on our menu featured several liquors and had a limit of two per guest. So this guy, maxes out on his 2 specialty cocktails and gets a little 'friendlier,' with me. He starts commenting, aggressively, 'Your eyes...your legs...your hair,' etc.
Come to find out, in between the drunken passes, he's asking people at the table to order more of these cocktails for him-- and they're doing it! About 2 hours into the ordeal, he starts slapping my a-- every time I walk by. I'm going out of my way to avoid him and his coworkers are cringing. Finally, he stands up wraps his arms around me and starts swaying. He's telling me he wants to take me to the Jay-Z concert the next day and lifts me up over his shoulder. I realize he's been stealing other guests' beverages and decide to tell my manager. 'Well,' said manager, 'did you tell him to stop? I mean, they're gonna be gone soon anyway. Just avoid him.'
More or less the reaction I expected, but priceless nonetheless. Loathed that establishment. I just want to finish off by saying, if you're ever with 'that guy' do the right thing and call him out. I was pretty straight forward, but damn. All those people just watched in horror as I got fondled and disrespected. Servers, no matter how 'scandalous' you may think their uniform is, are still people. Still daughters. Still mothers. And still handling your food."
"I was a bartender at Hooters. It was such a fun job, but it did have its weird moments. I had a regular that would come in once a month with his buddies and was very nice. He was my favorite regular...until I got message from his wife. It was the most awkward thing. She told me that he used to abuse her and that I should be careful when I hook up with him. I never hooked up with him or was that ever my intention. It just made me mad that he would use me to anger his wife. Weirdos man. The other thing I hated was the bullying. We had a new host who was hands down the most gorgeous girl that worked there, but so many girls where b----y to her. I always had her back because girls are mean. We are still friends to this day."
"I worked at Hooters as a hostess in the mid 90's at the end of my senior year in high school. My uniform was all white, tennis short shorts, a tight fitted polo, plus the usual hosiery and white athletic shoes, and same glam hair and makeup rules as the servers. I was there less than FOUR months and I have a few long and unsettling stories:
• On a slow weeknight, I noticed this guy in a red Ford Probe kept driving by the front door and waving to get my attention while I was on the inside, but when I tried to respond to him, he would drive off again. The servers had a lot of regulars, so 18-year-old me assumed innocently that maybe he wanted to ask if a particular girl was working. I asked one server if she knew who he was and why he was waving. She didn't know him, but together she and I stepped outside to the front patio to investigate. Immediately regretted that! From the top of the patio stairs, we could see clearly down into his car and he was masturbating and grinning at us! We recoiled in disgust and ran back inside. He sped off and didn't return. We told the manager and he only laughed and said, 'What a perv!' I felt very uncomfortable, but it didn't occur to me to report it. I was only thankful that one of Hooters rules was that the kitchen staff was required to walk us to our cars when our shift was over. I wasn't a fan of the Ford Probe to begin with, but I became disdainful of all who drove Probes after that incident.
• One of our regulars was a local minor league baseball player. Every time he was in, he remarked on the fact that I was in high school, like I was a novelty, and he asked me again and again if he could please take me to my prom. He was attractive, but he was a bit too alpha and cocky, so I felt wary of him, like he'd be pushy if I was too nice. Plus he was 27, and at that time, I was 18 and was extremely creeped out by any man that age, let alone guys my own age who behaved like him. I kept him at bay for several visits to the restaurant that spring until a classmate finally asked me to prom. I was so relieved as the man was getting more and more persistent, and I was running out of excuses to be indecisive.
• It was a hostess' job requirement to walk around and socialize with customers, and we were not allowed to just stand at the door. So there were many evenings I circled the restaurant trying to keep my manager happy and trying to think of interesting topics to bring up that wouldn't make my interruption a burden. On a slow weeknight, I came across this nice looking nerd type guy sitting alone at the bar, and I said hello to him and asked how he was doing. He was in town for work that sounded technical, and even though I didn't pretend to understand, I asked him to tell me more. He was refreshingly pleasant and intelligent conversationally, if slightly nervous, and was unlike most other customers. I really liked him, and was wondering if he thought I was too young and dumb to discuss whatever he was talking about. Until he got up to leave, and instead of just saying, 'Nice talking to you, enjoy your evening,' he bluntly remarked, 'I'm staying at hotel blah blah in room number blah, if you want to come by.' And not much else! Ouch. I was completely stunned, he seemed so nice, I thought we were having a meaningful, comfortable conversation and then suddenly he's asking me to show up to his hotel room after work like I'm just some good-time-girl. As an adult, I might have assumed the best and understood he was perhaps just an awkward techy guy who didn't know what to say next, and maybe if he'd been thinking straight, he would have known better and instead invited me to IHOP after work or something. But 18-year-old me felt somewhat hurt, confused, duped, and creeped out by this. It made me dread socializing with customers, really, wondering what's really going on in these men's minds and what do they actually think I'm doing talking to them.
• Last one isn't so bad. So sometimes, if the weekend was starting off slow, management would tell us to go hoola hoop in the parking lot to attract customers because we were located on a very busy street corner amongst numerous other chain restaurants. One night we did this and it caused a man to crash into/rear end another car! This was before most people had cell phones, so he definitely wasn't texting and driving.
It was a fun, curiosity satisfying experience working at Hooters for a short time, but overall, it wasn't something I would recommend unless you are really comfortable with men in that kind of power shifted environment and enjoy the kind of attention they give. I might have enjoyed it more if I'd been older, less shy, and better equipped with conversational faculties to navigate the sexual tension confidently. I was happy to leave it behind and work as a server at a normal restaurant for a few years following that. I've been back to Hooters a few times, never my idea, usually with male coworkers in IT, and while I make an effort to be neutral, I still really don't get it. I still find it to be a fascinating, weird and insane set up. It wasn't for me, but I could clearly see that other people gained a ton of enjoyment from it. So to each their own!"
"I thoroughly loved my time at Hooters and I'd totally return if was seeking a position in food service in the States again. I had a lot of great times there, but the worst time was this one older guy who looked like he was in his late 50s who decided to be really specific about his iced tea order. This was around post-lunch time so we were pretty empty.
He started asking me about my life goals and aspirations, and since I didn't give him a satisfactory answer (I was really guarded about that kind of stuff at the time) he gave me a big lecture about how I shouldn't waste my life on a job like that. Then after I wandered off to other tables a few times, I returned and he went on a tangent about how the age of consent is bulls--- and how the government doesn't give girls enough credit to decide who they want to sleep with. He said, without an ounce of shame, that if a 14-year-old girl wants to f--- a 50-something year old man, she should be free to. I got really sweaty and uncomfortable and basically was just like, '... Oh. That's an opinion.' He kept rambling on the subject and like vaguely pushing me to agree, but I just f---ing couldn't.
Ultimately, he gifted me a nice pen, a message, and a $20 tip on a like, $3 check. The message was condescending as s--- and I was glad to see him go."
"Worst by far was when we were doing 'wheelbarrow races' (yes this is a thing at this particular restaurant) around obstacles to 'liven things up.' I was holding the ankles of the new girl and we were winning, which meant no side work, so I got a little too enthusiastic and surged forward. Now, the new girl was teeny tiny, super cute and sweet, but with these huge, right-up-under-her-chin boobs that we all knew were fake. She denied that they were, though, so whatever. Anyway, wheelbarrow racing. I got overexcited, she slipped, landed on her face and chest and immediately began to cry because her 'boob job was still sore.' This sounds like a ridiculous story because it is, because Hooters is a giant hole of ludicrosity. I realize that's not a word but it should be. Anyway, she hit her mouth hard, there was some blood, she quit the next day, I got off scot free because management there was crap."
"The regulars always made me a little sad, you almost feel guilty because you know some of those lonely old men are on a very limited income and really can't afford those big tips. The uniform inspection was the worst!! We had one creepy manager who made us stand up on a chair and twirl...He also quite regularly smacked my a--. I was not sad to see him go!"
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock
"My first table, after asking what he'd like on his Philly cheesesteak, answered with, 'You.' That was his answer for anything I asked.
Mostly it wasn't bad though. Lots of old men just wanting beer and wings and flirting. Sometimes it made me very sad. There was a man who was in the Navy who had been so downtrodden in his life. I just listened to him and he gave me this special ops pin.
We had a regular, Richard. Bat s--- crazy but lovable. He'd bring us bags of candy all the time. One day an equally batty woman came in and we got to play matchmaker. In the end, though, she went home with the Dos Equis man...cardboard cutout.
Some bad stuff did happen. Mostly it was because of drama within the girls themselves. There was a morning shift that started out with our manager saying she didn't want to have to break up a fight. One of the girls and her boyfriend went on a break... and that night another girl invited him to stay with her.
I wasn't there for this shift, but they made the girls do wall sits to send an extra server home. 20 minutes later someone won, but the managers didn't send anyone home.
The worst thing that happened to me while working there was lifting stuff in the back and got an umbilical hernia. I could tell something was up, told the manager I thought I had a hernia, but he said I was fine. Went to the doctor and they gave me a surgical consult ASAP, surgery scheduled and everything.
They don't really care about the girls there. At my store, they didn't really advertise anything. It was slow a lot, and when we complained about not being able to make any money because there were too many girls on slow nights, they blamed us for not giving 'Hooterful' service. In the end, I couldn't handle it anymore and I left. It's a completely image focused environment which ends up being very negative. Plus it wasn't good enough money at my location to put up with any bulls--- so I got a job in a nicer restaurant and make twice the money there than I ever did at good ol' Hoots."
"Actual retired Hooter girl here! I pretty much enjoyed most of my time working there. I don't have any terribly awful or even terribly exciting stories to share but what sticks me the most are the handful of 'regulars.' Old, single men who dined with us every single day, day in and day out. We were their friends and we were their family and they were paying us to be that. It was heartbreaking and I really did like and enjoy the company of the majority of them. It was hard to say goodbye!
Honestly, the worst part was daily uniform inspection. Having to stand up with legs spread and arms straight out so our managers could inspect every detail of us: armpits for hair, hair for bobby pins, face for makeup application, tights for runs/holes, shorts for stains/tears, shoes for whiteness, tank tops for stains and to make sure bra straps weren't peeking through. It was always torture."