Have you ever heard somebody say they eat at Hooters because they like the wings? Hooters’ execs might have been listening: They have partnered with a Dallas franchise group to open dozens of order-at-the-counter restaurants named Hoots Wings in North Texas.
Here, servers don’t wear orange hot pants and low-cut tank tops. Hoots staffers work the counter, wearing T-shirts and jeans. The restaurant’s focus is on selling wings via carryout and third-party delivery, though customers can also sit inside.
Franchisees Cary and Jackie Albert, who have opened 42 Schlotzsky’s restaurants in Texas, say Hooters can find a new audience with Hoots.
“You do kind of like having the name recognition of Hooters because people know it, but this is the family-friendly version,” Jackie Albert says.
They call it the “little brother” concept, selling a familiar menu of bone-in wings, boneless wings, Buffalo shrimp, chicken sandwiches, fried pickles and loaded tots.
Hoots will go up against Dallas-based Wingstop. Cary Albert is ready: “We have the product to compete against our biggest national competitor,” he says.
Hoots first opened in the suburbs of Chicago in 2017. It has cautiously grown to seven Hoots today, in Illinois, Georgia and Florida. The franchise agreement with the Alberts, to open 60 Hoots in Dallas and Austin, signals the biggest expansion yet — and a bet that Texans will buy into the brand.
Cary Albert is looking all over North Texas for storefronts: McKinney, Frisco, Fort Worth, Duncanville, Dallas, Garland and Wylie, for example. He thinks the brand could work “everywhere.”
“Everybody in every neighborhood can enjoy this. That’s what we’re excited about,” he says.
The Alberts would like to open 10 Hoots per year. If all goes according to plan, Texas’ first Hoots will open in Little Elm in about three months.
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