‘Great meal: Thanks for the mammaries’
When did so many restaurants decide to become ‘breastaurants’?
The Hamilton Spectator
Tuesday, July 10/12
Recently a childhood buddy of mine and I went on a boys’ weekend to Charlotte, N.C., to watch some NASCAR and celebrate my 50th birthday. Please do not make any redneck assumptions just because this column begins with a reference to NASCAR.
Yes, it was an amazing weekend.
During our travels we noticed a Hooters along a restaurant row we had discovered that included everything from smoked rib joints to sushi bars. My friend commented, “They’re all like Hooters now.”
I have never really paid too much attention to what my friend says, especially regarding women or eating, so I thought why start now. But over the course of the weekend I noticed exactly what he was talking about.
We didn’t go looking for it but certainly found Hooters whether we were in a nice steak house, an English-style pub or a sports bar. They all had waitresses that were dressed in some sort of skimpy outfit or theme including tight shorts or skirts and top.
Not that I’m complaining, but when did this happen?
Hooters has been selling political incorrectness for years but there’s a subtle difference between a tight buttoned down shirt and a plaid skirt and a T-shirt with orange owls eye emblazoned where the breasts are.
Dan Rodriguez of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association said on CHML there’s nothing new here: It’s repackaging the same old, “broadening something that has worked well in the past.”
What he means is “nice scenery” in a restaurant is a huge part of the experience. That means the people as well as the decor.
What puts these new “breastaurants” ahead of the old traditional establishments is there is more focus on better quality food and upscale decor. The wait staff is the icing on this cake.
Rodriguez cites many examples of where establishments “complemented” their wait staff with changes that saw results almost immediately.
Most however try to keep it low-key, as opposed to the slobbering politically incorrectness of a Hooters.
This is “not an experience in exploitation,” he adds. “You don’t want to offend the customer. You don’t want to be disrespectful to the staff.”
Food still has to be the main focus, “The culinary side has to support he visual experience.”
Dave Henkes, VP at Technomic Inc., a food industry research and consulting firm that follows what’s hot in food, says the second-hottest segment in the business right now, behind “upscale casual fast food,” is “breastaurants” — or what he likes to call the “attentive service segment.”
Consumer are looking for added value and part of the value equation is “ambience and hospitality” said the consultant. But the food has to be good, too, which explains the success of such establishments as Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks in the U.S., Finn McCool’s, or even the family friendly Jack Astor’s up here.
Henkes agrees these next generation “alternative service restaurants” are much more subtle and have a stronger focus on food, a higher quality beverage program, and contemporary upscale decor.
“These places are cognizant of the fact Hooters may have put itself in a niche by going too over the top. So they are doing more in other areas and creating a PG-13 version of the theme.”
Do women care about who the wait staff is? The answer is a resounding no, as long as the service is good. Women traditionally don’t spend as much money at restaurants as men do and tip less, not falling for low-cut necklines. Guys are less fickle if the food and view is good.
So the next time the lady of the house wants to go out for dinner, you tell her you have the perfect place.
Just make sure when the waitress leans over the table to take the order, your eyes are securely focused on the menu when you say, “I’ll have two of those, please.”
The Scott Thompson Show airs weekdays noon-3pm on News/Talk 900 CHML radio. www.ScottThompsonTalk.com