Hooters: Prurient Pleasure or Family Fun?

Even if you’ve never been to a Hooters restaurant and know nothing about the chain of eateries, chances are you can guess what draws people to them.  Sure, I’ve heard tell the chicken wings are good, but it’s not wings that people think of when they think “hooters”.  Indeed, the company has been successfully sued by men for not being hired as waitstaff and the employee handbook at one time allegedly required female employees to acknowledge and accept that “the essence of the Hooters concept is entertainment through female sex appeal.”

So would you take your kids there?

According to the restaurant’s advertising, claims the California chapter of the National Organization for Women, it’s a family restaurant, fun for the kiddies as much as the daddies.  They also claim, however, that the popular eateries are nothing more than adult entertainment and entirely unsuitable for children, and have lodged formal police complaints.  Holding up a child’s t-shirt, Mona Lisa Wallace, one of the women that filed the complaint on behalf of NOW, says “This says ‘Hooters girl in the making.’ So encouraging a child to be a sexual entertainer is prurient and against the law in California.”

Others are not so hard on the restaurants.  “That was part of our job,” says Nicole Elliott, a former Hooters Girl and a mother of two, “to have fun with the kids, balloons, … hula hoops, games.”  She says it was very family oriented — although I have to wonder if the hula hoop routine wasn’t more for the big kids than the little ones.

Phil Baum, a New Jersey dad said that he took his kids there.  “My youngest has been going there since he was 1,” he admitted.  He added that “he didn’t appreciate it as much back then.”  He says the restaurant isn’t not family friendly.  Of course, that doesn’t mean it is, either.  Still, I’m not sure the atmosphere at Hooters is really all that different than what you’d see at, say, your local mall or even on television these days.

Now, I’m pretty liberal about sexuality and so I likely wouldn’t have a problem taking my kids to Hooters.  Having never been there, however, I’m not sure I’m qualified to decide that just yet.  I think I need to gather my team of parenting experts and do some, um, hands-on research.  What do you think?  Would you take your kids to Hooters?  Why?

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