At this point, Hooters girls are kind of a cultural icon as much as they are just servers ready to delivery your crispy wings to your table. Those iconic white tanks with the owls and teeny, tiny orange shorts have become more well known than most uniforms, and people never seem to tire of seeing a gorgeous woman clad in the uniform.
People also have many misconceptions about Hooters girls and their experience, even though plenty of other waitresses likely wear outfits that are just as revealing — they just have to wear plain black outfits or something along those lines, rather than a straight up uniform. Some women work there for a while and absolutely love the sisterhood and enjoy their time, while others hate it — but they all know it’s a way more interesting job than most serving gigs because of what people think about Hooters girls.
Luckily, since the chain is fairly large, with tons of employees who have worked there at some point over the years, there are plenty of ex-Hooters girls willing to spill the beans about what it was really like to work there — and some of the details are pretty juicy. Here are 15 secrets about the chain, revealed straight from the ex-Hooters girls who used to don those orange shorts.
15. Personality matters more than actual restaurant experience
When it comes to the restaurant industry, service is just about as important as the actual food being served. After all, even if the chef crafts a perfect plate, your experience is going to suffer if your server is absolutely terrible and can’t seem to get anything right. So, you’d think that a spot as big as Hooters would want servers that had a ton of experience, since they’ll be navigating busy, raucous crowds while scantily dressed and likely carrying heavy pitchers of beer and plates of wings, right? Well, not quite. It turns out that Hooters looks more at personality when it comes to hiring a new employee than actual experience, because they’d rather a server need a bit more training and connect well with customers than hire a total pro who doesn’t give customers the Hooters experience.
14. There’s not actually a bra size requirement – although it’s implicit
Many people assume that, to work at Hooters, you have to be a D cup, at least. After all, you need to fill out those white tanks, right? Nope. In actuality, Hooters girls come in all shapes and sizes. Some may be super curvy up top, and others may fill out those orange shorts way better than their fellow co-workers. There are Hooters girls with A cups to H cups, and everything in between — it’s all just a matter of being confident with what you’ve got and projecting that confidence. So, if you’ve ever considered being a Hooters girl but worried you didn’t meet the cup requirement, worry no more — no such thing exists. You can be totally petite up top and still make a phenomenal Hooters girl, given the right attitude…and pushup bra.
13. Big curves usually mean big tips (hey, men want what they want)
Alright, alright, we know — we just said that Hooters girls come in all shapes and sizes, and that there wasn’t a requirement to be particularly busty. However, as many servers figure out soon into starting their jobs, bigger curves often mean bigger tips. And, this doesn’t just apply to natural curves. Even Hooters girls who are a bit more petite up top can chase those amazing tips by pulling a few tricks out of their arsenal, such as push-up bras and padding designed to enhance what they’ve got. Hey, it’s no different than waitresses at other spots opting for heels rather than flats because they know it makes their legs look amazing — Hooters girls are stuck in sneakers, so they’ve kind of got to work with showing off what they’ve got!
12. They’re not permitted to leave work with their uniform showing
Okay, so apparently, Hooters girls literally are not allowed to be seen outside of work in their uniform. There’s no running to the grocery store in uniform after their shift to pick up a few essentials, or stopping to get gas. If they’re ever spotted outside work rocking the iconic uniform, they’ll be immediately hired. It sounds a little harsh and crazy — after all, sometimes you just don’t want to bother changing until you’re in the comfort of your own home — but it turns out, this rule is mostly to protect the Hooters girls themselves. Given the kind of reaction the uniform can provoke, we kind of get it — they don’t want any Hooters girls harassed outside of work, so just avoiding that by telling them they can’t wear those teeny orange shorts outside the confines of the restaurant kind of makes sense.
11. Hugging customers is strictly forbidden
This is another rule that seems ridiculous at first, but once you think about it, makes sense that it’s in place to protect the employees. Now, many customers who frequent the casual dining chain love to flirt with the waitresses and enjoy that part of the Hooters experience — and the Hooters girls pretty much go into it knowing that will likely be the case. However, if a customer ever wants to give a Hooters girl a hug, she has a pretty convenient way of turning him down — she can just say it’s strictly forbidden for Hooters girls to hug the customers. It makes it seem like it’s management, not them, being the bad guy, when in actuality, it’s just protecting the girls in case of any customers who might get handsy or try to turn a hug into something more.
10. They must dance on demand to songs whose routines they learned
If you’ve ever been in a Hooters and watched the girls bust out into a dance routine when a certain song came on, you might just think they were really great dancers who were totally in sync. At least, that’s what they want you to think. In actuality, as part of their training, Hooters girls are forced to learn choreographed dances to a handful of songs. Then, if one of those songs plays while they’re working, no matter how many orders they have on the go, no matter how tired they are or how much their feet may hurt, they have to stop everything and participate in that dance. It’s supposed to contribute to the fun environment, but we can only imagine how some of those girls must feel when a certain song comes on towards the end of a long shift.
9. They have to wear a specific type of pantyhose that they have to buy themselves
As many people know, Hooters girls don’t go for bare legs under their orange shorts — they all wear panty hose, even though most women under a certain age haven’t worn panty hose in their lives. And, it’s not as if the hose are supplied as part of the uniform — it turns out, the Hooters girls are forced to buy their own panty hose, and it needs to be in the official, mandated “suntan” colour, a shade designed to make their legs look tanned and gorgeous. Considering how active they are during their shift, and how easily panty hose can snag and become ruined, it’s kind of annoying that the chain wouldn’t just supply them with some kind of a panty hose budget. They work hard enough as it is — why should they have to worry about keeping enough backup panty hose on hand?
8. Make-up is a requirement and your hair must always be on fleek
Okay, we can kind of understand how a chain like Sephora would require employees to wear make-up at all times — after all, that’s what they’re selling, and there’s a big chance a customer might be inspired to buy a product after seeing it in an employee’s look. However, the rule seems a bit silly for a restaurant. Sure, servers are always supposed to look their best, but that can mean different things for different people — some women love to go full glam, regardless of the occasion, while others wear minimal make-up, if any. If you’re a Hooters girl and you come in with a bare face, though, you’ll likely be marched to the back room and handed a tube of lipstick, because they have to wear make-up during their shift, always.
7. They’re allowed to wear costumes once a month — if they want to pay for them
This is a bit of a strange rule, but one that exists nonetheless. Apparently once a month, most Hooters locations have a costume day where Hooters girls can ditch the orange shorts and white tanks and opt for some kind of a fun costume. They often have themes so that the women look like a uniform team — perhaps animal night, or cowgirl night, etc., — but it’s not as if the chain is supplying special edition costumes to mix it up. If a Hooters girl wants to participate in costume day, she has to literally spend her own money to buy a costume that fits whatever theme they’re going with. Isn’t that insane? She’s already wasting goodness knows how many dollars a month on panty hose — no, she’s not going to want to shell out for a fringed vest for cowgirl day!
6. They’re allowed a free meal on shift — but only if they pick something healthy
Okay, this rule kind of makes us give management the side eye, because policing what someone else eats is never okay. Many employees who work in the restaurant industry get some kind of a meal incentive as a perk, whether that be a staff meal prepped by the chef or just a certain amount of free food they can consume while they’re on shift. Hooters employees are able to get a free meal while they’re working, which is a nice perk. However, listen up — they’re only allowed the free meal if they opt for something on the arbitrary ‘healthy’ menu. If they decide that they really want something a bit more indulgent, they either have to pay a discounted price for those wings, or in the case of fries, full price. That’s right — they can get free salad, but have to pay out of pocket if they want some fries. Crazy!
5. They’re supposed to greet everyone who comes in, but usually end up too tired towards the end of a shift
In between dealing with their customers and running plates of food back and forth from the kitchen, Hooters girls are also supposed to keep an eye on the entrance. That’s because when someone walks into the restaurant, all the Hooters girls are supposed to yell “Hi! Welcome to Hooters!” as a rule. It’s a rule likely put in place to help the customer feel welcome in the establishment, but if you’ve ever walked into a Hooters and failed to be greeted in such a manner, it’s likely because the women are just too darn tired to shout that out every time someone walks in the door. Hey, we totally get it — at the end of a long shift, when your feet are aching and your customers have been irritating, you’re just not up for forced enthusiasm.
4. They must scrunch their socks in a particular way
The only lucky thing about Hooters uniforms is that the girls don’t have to deal with the pain of high heels. Instead, their uniform-approved footwear is white sneakers with white socks. However, they can’t just fish out any old socks from their dresser. They have to wear their uniform socks, which have to be scrunched in a particular way that apparently helps to make their legs look more lean. As any woman knows, anything that cuts off the line of your leg like a thick white sock makes it tough for your legs to look lean, but hey — if they think the scrunch truly works, scrunch away. Although, we can only imagine those poor girls frustrated, scrunching and re-scrunching to get it just right when they’re already late for a shift.
3. They have to be able to draw the Hooters owl in ketchup
Okay, we’re going to be honest — this seems like the most useless rule of all, and yet it is one. Apparently, all Hooters girls must learn how to draw an owl in ketchup as part of their training. Yes, we’re serious. We get that the iconic owl logo is an important part of the Hooters brand, but we’re not sure that any customers are truly itching to see the mascot illustrated in ketchup. Is it designed to make sure everyone remembers what establishment they’re at? Is it to add a little visual interest alongside a plate of fries and wings? Who knows — but if you’re at the chain and you ask a server to draw it, she should be able to, because it’s something she had to cover during her training, believe it or not.
2. Hooters hires ‘entertainers,’ not servers — so they can pick women with a certain look
One question many people have when they think about Hooters is how it’s even allowed to hire employees based largely on their looks. After all, it’s no secret that Hooters staff are usually totally gorgeous — that’s half the appeal for the customers who walk through the doors every day. Well, they manage to get away with hiring based largely on looks because they don’t claim to hire servers — they apparently hire ‘entertainers.’ So, they can be a bit more nitpitcky about how a potential hire looks. We’re not sure we would call a bit of flirtatious banter and a few choreographed dance routines every now and then entertainment, but hey — at least they’re up front about it? Goodness knows those Hooters girls probably work super hard every shift, so maybe all servers should be known as entertainers for how they put up with customers with a smile on their faces.
1. Hooters girls are allowed to swap tops with fellow employees in other cities
If you’ve ever seen a Hooters girl wearing a top that names a different city than the one she’s in, that’s not some kind of a mistake on the manager’s part in acquiring the wrong shirt for her. It’s actually a fun detail about the Hooters rules. Apparently, if a Hooters girl visits a Hooters location in another city, she can swap tops with a fellow employee — that is, if the employee also wants to expand her collection of Hooters tops. The only exception, apparently, is Vegas, because they have their own rules related to the location they’re in. Still — that’s a fun way to mix up your work wardrobe if you’re the type who travels a lot (and doesn’t mind stopping in to Hooters at least once in every city you visit to try to snag a sweet tee).