- As Hooters’ sales slump, Twin Peaks is on the rise.
- The mountain lodge-themed “breastaurant” chain has reported nine quarters of positive comparable sales, with same-store sales growing 5.1% in 2017.
- According to CEO Joe Hummel, Twin Peaks’ success depends on successfully combining “Twin Peaks girls” with a foodie-approved menu.
- “Everybody’s a foodie nowadays,” Hummel told Business Insider. “You can’t fool the consumer in today’s world.”
A Hooters competitor is beating the original “breastaurant” brand at its own game.
In the past year, Twin Peaks topped Knapp-Track’s list of concepts ranked by comparable sales growth. The 81-location chain has reported nine quarters of positive comparable sales, with same-store sales growing 5.1% in 2017.
According to Twin Peaks’ CEO, Joe Hummel, the chain has risen above its rivals by perfecting its mix of scantily-clad “Twin Peaks girls” and a vast, foodie-approved menu.
“Everybody’s a foodie nowadays,” Hummel told Business Insider. “You can’t fool the consumer in today’s world, with all the different food shows and food networks that are out there.”
Twin Peaks’ customers are more than 70% male and primarily in their twenties and early thirties, though Hummel is sure to note that “we obviously appeal to all different ages and genders.”
Twin Peaks was founded in Lewisville, Texas, in 2005. From the start, the chain has offered a slightly different take on the breastaurant concept than its more well-known rival.
“Hooters just wasn’t racy enough,” founder and then-CEO Randy DeWitt told Bloomberg in 2014.
However, talking to Hummel in 2018, Twin Peaks’ menu is just as important in distinguishing the chain from rivals like Hooters. While the chain airs sports games and identifies itself as a “sports lodge,” Hummel is just as proud of its made-from-scratch menu as its Twin Peaks girls.
“It’s just a wide variety of different styles of food that don’t necessarily fit the stereotypical sports bar,” Hummel said.
Twin Peaks’ menu includes things such as breakfast tacos, pot roast, and chicken and waffles in addition to extensive wings and tacos selections.
That isn’t to say that Twin Peaks is all chicken, no breasts.
Twin Peaks girls continue to serve as the spokeswoman for the chain, plastered on advertisements across print, TV, and social media campaigns. Even with millennials’ rumoured disinterest in cleavage and questions about female objectification, Hummel thinks the “breastaurant” business model is sticking around.
“When you look at the recipe of a beautiful Twin Peaks girl, combined with great beverages, great food, and a warm setting, we don’t see that ever changing,” Hummel said.
Twin Peaks is kicking off an expansion push in 2018, with plans to open roughly five new locations this year. Next year, the chain plans to open up 12 new restaurants, and it’s on track to open roughly 15 to 18 in 2020. Ultimately, Hummel says, there’s easily potential for more than 250 to 300 locations.
Much of the sit-down, casual-dining industry has been plagued by a “sea of sameness,” with chains like Chilli’s, Applebee’s, and TGI Fridays struggling to stand out from the crowd.
The Twin Peaks girls help the chain stand out from its more straight-laced casual-dining competition. And, the tweaks to the breastaurant formula – like sub-freezing craft beer, an extended menu, and a lodge theme – set it apart from more unbuttoned rivals.
“I think our total brand DNA, there’s a demand for it,” Hummel said. “Everybody has done little bits and pieces of it, but no one has done the whole program.”