The Florida-born restaurant chain Hooters is a $1 billion–dollar-a-year business, known in foodie circles far and wide, of course, for its rather controversial chicken wings. Until recently, however, fans of the wings in Great Britain had only one destination to which to throng. That’s about to change: Hooters is in the process of launching a UK takeover, with plans to open 36 restaurants by 2012. Five are on track for this year, in Bristol, London, Manchester, Sheffield, and Newcastle.
This British invasion is bringing up issues that have mostly died down in America since the chain opened in 1983. Protesters in Sheffield complain that Hooters is “at the very least tacky, if not downright sexist.” It “intends to be more like a lap-dance club than a family restaurant,” Finn MacKay of the Feminist Coalition Against Prostitution tells the Guardian. “Without the sexualised waiters and the soft porn and sport on display, what would men go for? They can get better and cheaper chicken wings in KFC.”
Indeed, the “perennially fashionable menu of buffalo wings, chilli dogs and shrimp platter is unlikely to win its kitchen assemblers a Michelin star any time soon,” laments the Independent.
But worse than KFC? Take note, Brits: Chowhounds beg to differ.