- Hooters employees went viral on TikTok decrying new, more revealing uniform shorts.
- Hooters of America then agreed to make the new shorts optional for workers.
- Four workers and one previous employee told Insider what they really think about the new shorts.
Hooters employees made headlines last week as they spoke out on social media against new, smaller uniform shorts that rolled out in locations across the country. Servers and bartenders were largely against the idea of wearing the new shorts, which many compared to underwear.
Insider spoke to four current workers and one former worker in four states, whose names are withheld because they were not authorized to speak to media.
A waitress in Alabama said that when the shorts were first introduced at her restaurant, servers had to sign consent forms agreeing to wear the shorts, or risk being sent home.
“When I first put the shorts on, I was like alright, whatever. After wearing them for a few shifts with a little time to process, I realized how uncomfortable I felt,” she told Insider.
Hooters, which has more than 400 locations across 42 states, is known for its wings and “Hooters Girls,” who are known for “glamorous styled hair, camera-ready make-up, and her fit body which all contribute to her confidence and poise,” according to a current job listing. Workers have long worn revealing outfits, but now some say the new shorts are too far.
“My manager said I was wearing them wrong and that they needed to be pulled up on the sides to create a ‘U’ shape like a ‘smiley,’ which made them look even smaller,” another server in Florida said.
“These are not what I agreed to wear when I was hired,” a South Carolina bartender said, echoing the complaints of other workers shared with Insider. “There’s almost no bottom.”
“I feel like I’m working in my underwear,” another worker, also in Florida, said. The new shorts make people “feel like they can comment on my body more.”
“As we continue to listen and update the image of the Hooters Girls, we are clarifying that they have the option to choose from traditional uniforms or the new ones,” the spokesperson wrote in an earlier email to Insider. “They can determine which style of shorts best fits their body style and personal image.”
Hooters of America, which did not respond to requests for further comment, said it will continue to give employees input into future uniform changes.
So far, one Hooters employee told Insider that her manager says she will still be required to wear the new style.
The Alabama waitress will “absolutely not,” be wearing the new shorts, now that she has a choice, she said. A former Hooters worker in Texas who left the job this summer said that she would have quit over the shorts if she still worked there. “It would’ve been the last straw,” she said.
Workers say reviews they get from customers are mixed.
“I’ve had customers say they do not feel comfortable coming to Hooters anymore, and won’t be back,” the Florida server told Insider, while the Alabama waitress said that customers at her location seem to like the new shorts.
Even some kitchen staff and managers have been reacting to the new shorts, the Alabama worker said.
“It honestly feels worse when people that I thought of as colleagues that respected me,” react this way. With “just a little bit more skin showing, you realize these men are objectifying me just as much as the customers.”