Owl You Need is HootersCover Story Features
November 19, 2011
Story By: Dining Out Team |
Hooters, an internationally acclaimed restaurant chain, is definitely something to give a hoot about. This casual beach-theme establishment, operated by Atlanta-based HOA Restaurant Group, LLC, has more than 455 restaurants worldwide, including locations in 44 states in the U.S.
Known for its exquisite Hooters girls, delectable all-American cuisine and ice-cold beer, Hooters makes sure each dining experience is an unforgettable one. The eatery not only reaches sports fans, who enjoy watching games here, but Hooters also reaches out to the entire community it serves.
Dining Out recently paid a visit to this famed establishment located in Aloha Tower Marketplace and chatted up Hooters general manager Abel Diaz, assistant general manager Alex Dahlman and director of marketing Tia Spence, who obviously love what they do. In between the fits of laughter and oohing and ahhing at all the marvelous dishes, we were able to truly take in all that Hooters has to offer. Fun is what it’s all about at Hooters, and the party won’t stop anytime soon!
DO: Hooters has made a name for itself worldwide. Please share some background on this established eatery.
Diaz: Hooters opened its doors in 1983 in Clearwater, Fla., and the company has been growing tremendously ever since. Today, we have Hooters locations all over the world, from China to Australia and South America. Hooters established a unique concept based on our Hooters girls, who are portrayed to be like the “all-American cheerleader.” Our Hooters Hawaii location opened 18 years ago in Aloha Tower Marketplace, and thankfully we’ve been able to stay put.
DO: Of course, Hooters is the ultimate place to be for everything “food, drink and football.” And there’s been so much talk about its world-famous chicken wings. What makes these wings so tasty?
Dahlman: Our head chef is Justin Morgan, and you can get your chicken wings ($10.99, 10 pieces; $19.99, 20 pieces, $37.99 50 pieces) breaded, or without the breading. Either way is popular now. Boneless also is just as popular as the bone-in wings. We have lots of different sauces, and you can get your wings at a variety of spice levels. They’re just good, old-fashioned chicken wings — deep-fried. They’re delicious. We go through more than 20,000 chicken wings a week!
Diaz: Our sauces are the special ingredient that make our chicken wings stand out above the rest. People can choose from 11 different sauces, including Mild, Medium, Hot, 3 Mile Island — It’s Nuclear, 911 Hot — Call the Paramedics, Cajun — A Mardi Gras celebration, Samurai — Teriyaki-Style, Spicy Garlic — Vampires Beware!, Parmesan Garlic, Lemon Pepper and BBQ.
Diaz: I’d definitely recommend our Daytona Beach Wings, a sweet and spicy treat that’s finished on the grill. The Parmesan Garlic sauce is very popular, too. Blue Cheese & Celery ($1.99) go great with our chicken wings.
DO: Delicious! Hooters serves up some fantastic burgers as well that meat lovers can’t wait to devour, correct?
Diaz: Yes! Our Western BBQ Burger ($10.99) is one of the most-requested burgers, featuring a mouth-watering beef patty, complete with bacon, Cheddar cheese, onion tanglers and a zesty barbecue sauce. All of our burgers come with your choice of potato salad, baked beans, mac salad or cole slaw.
Spence: The Bleu Cheese Burger ($10.99) and Training Burgers ($10.99, 4 mini burgers) have been drawing in customers, and you also can build your own burgers here, which a lot of people opt to do.
Diaz: And no matter what you order as your entree, you have to order a side of Fried Pickles ($7.99). These lightly breaded, sliced pickles are very addictive. Not too many restaurants have this, and we haven’t had any one person say that they didn’t like our fried pickles!
DO: So, besides burgers and chicken wings, what else flies off the menu here?
Spence: We’re also known for our oysters (market price). People always call to see if we have fresh oysters.
Dahlman: Yes, we have our oysters flown in several times a week from Washington. You can order them traditionally on the half-shell, or you can also get them roasted which also is very good — so if you aren’t a fan of raw oysters you can get them cooked.
DO: What type of clientele do you cater to?
Spence: We cater to a wide variety of customers, from military to locals and tourists. Everyone comes in for the specials. On Wednesdays and Sundays, we have all-you-can-eat wings for $15.99 (eat-in only special). We also have live entertainment on Wednesdays. We feature Military Mondays and Burger Mondays as well, when you can get a cheeseburger and french fries for $8.99. We also have daily specials too, with Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., in which patrons can get a discount on selected appetizers and drinks. And, of course, we always have specials on Saturdays and Sundays with all the football games.
Diaz: Yes, football season is very good to us. Right now we’re showing all the football games on Saturdays and Sundays, and in order to give back to our patrons, we discount the wings and beer on Sundays. You can have domestic glasses and Big Daddy’s for a low price!
DO: Hooters offers a full bar to help quench your thirst, correct?
Spence: Correct, we have a full bar now. When Hooters first opened, we only served beer. Now we have beer, liquor, wine — pretty much anything you want, we have it. From domestics to imports, we have it all. Here and there we’ll add new bottles to our collection to give customers something new, but our beers go with everything!
DO: While Hooters’ good food and ice-cold beer can’t be beat, everyone can’t resist the Hooters girls. What makes a Hooters girl?
Spence: We have the hottest girls on the island who work here! Anyone can be a server — it’s easy to bring food and drinks to a table, but we go above and beyond. Customer service is everything to us at Hooters — that’s what we want to be known for more than anything. We have 41 Hooters girls right now. We have a small group of girls who have been here a long time. They know the ropes, so they really help me in training the newer girls who join our team. The majority of our staff is new, however, some of them are college students, girls who work here for the summer. We have girls coming and going, but we do have a solid crew that’s been here forever that keeps training and making sure these girls are exactly what Hooters would like them to be, which is the exciting all-American girl. In terms of drawing in our customers, the girls are definitely our No. 1 draw, they just really make the whole Hooters experience.
Diaz: Training is very important to us. We spend a lot of time training our girls so that they’re ready to serve our customers. Hooters training could last for a month. We’re doing great business here, and that’s primarily due to our girls.
Spence: Personality is everything to us! Everybody thinks it’s all about the looks, but first and foremost it’s all about personality, and that’s what sells us the most because when you have the personality you make everything better. These girls are entertainers — they’re fun to be around, they love sports, they love to play games, they love to sing. The girls have played musical chairs and have participated in scavenger hunts with our customers — basically a lot of the games are made up as we go to make it a fun experience for our customers.
DO: Sounds like Hooters is the place to be to escape the stresses of life, and customers can remember their Hooters experience thanks to a wide variety of merchandise available at the eatery. What can customers expect?
Spence: Yes, we sell a lot of merchandise and come up with great shirt ideas. People like the traditional shirts, but we also throw in some fun things, like footballs during football season, for example. We have everything from shirts to beach towels, you name it! In fact, customers like to buy shirts and have the girls sign them and take it home to remember the experience they had here. We also have shirts for kids.
DO: What does the future hold for Hooters?
Diaz: We’re hoping to open more locations in the future, possibly in Waipio, and we’re also looking to open a place in Waikiki. Tourists love the concept. In terms of the food, we’re working to add the loco moco to our menu.
Dahlman: We are a restaurant first and foremost. We want to serve delicious, hot food and ice-cold beer, and have sports playing on TV, but you can go anywhere for those kind of things. You can have sports on at home, you can get food at any other restaurant, but there’s no other place that has Hooters girls. We have a bright future ahead of us.
Hooters of Honolulu
- Aloha Tower Marketplace
- 101 Ala Moana Boulevard
- Honolulu, HI 96813
- (808) 524-4668
- Sunday – Tuesday
- 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Wednesday – Thursday
- 10:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday
- 10:30 a.m. – Midnight
- Open at 8 a.m. on Sundays during football season.