Food & Drink International - Spring 2017 Volume 1 - 44
Original Hooters Group
Original Hooters Group's executive and management staffs prove the
restaurant's success is more than just skin-deep. By Jim Harris
Original Hooters Group
PHOTO: BOB RICH/SOCIETY ALLURE.COM
Revenue: $100 million
Headquarters: Clearwater, Fla.
Specialty: Casual dining
Neil Kiefer, CEO: "We have a fun
concept, and we're very successful at
>> NYC Hooters Girl Jackie Filipkowski (from left), President and CEO Neil Keifer and CEO Sal Melilli enjoy signature menu items.
waitresses, or "Hooters
Girls," have long been the
public face of the company. Although the waitstaff, along with
the company's famous chicken wings,
continue to be a draw for customers,
there are many others both in front
of and behind the scenes who have
helped Original Hooters remain successful for more than 30 years.
"Our greatest strength is our people.
Many of our managers and assistant
managers are long-time contributors,"
says Neil Kiefer, CEO of the Clearwater, Fla.-based company. "There aren't
many people who leave the company
once they get into the management
ranks. We've had area managers who
have been here since 1983."
Kiefer attributes the company's low
executive turnover to Original Hooters' culture. "This is a great place to
work, and we all get along well," he
adds. "We have a fun concept, and
we're very successful at executing it."
Clearwater is the site of the very
first Hooters restaurant, which
opened in 1983. The company today
owns 25 restaurants in three markets:
12 in Chicago; one in Manhattan, New
York City; and 12 in the Tampa/Clearwater, Fla., market.
Original Hooters Group oper-
food & drink international * spring 2017 volume 1 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com
ates relatively independently from
Hooters of America LLC (HOA),
which franchises and owns roughly
400-plus locations in the rest of the
United States as well as internationally. In addition to its restaurants,
the Original Hooters Group also
holds the rights to market and sell
the brand's famous wing sauce and
breading to grocery stores nationwide through its company, Hooters
Foods, Inc. The Group also holds
the exclusive license for gaming activities in the state of Nevada and
licenses the owner/operator of the
Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas.
The company is privately owned,
which Kiefer says is also an advantage. "A lot of companies are either
public or are owned by private equity groups, and have to do a lot of
number crunching before they do
something," he notes. "We are nimble and entrepreneurial - if we want
to do something, we can just go out
and do it."
Giving a 'Hoot'
Original Hooters' entrepreneurial spirit is driving it to start a new
fast-casual concept, known as Hoots.