Photo: @Press
business

Hooters goes bust in Japan

69 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In many ways, Hooters seems like a concept that would work extremely well in Japan. This is, after all, a nation that itself has produced some startling innovations in breast-related dining, such as the busty waitress Akihabara ramen joint and the “breast slash” cafe.

And sure enough, the chain has opened a total of seven locations in Japan since arriving in the country in 2005. However, Japanese fans of the Hooters chain have had their spirits bouncing up and down this week, starting with the development that on March 25, HJ, the company that manages Hooters’ Japanese restaurants, filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors in Tokyo District Court under Japan’s Civil Rehabilitation Law.

Then, just a day later, Hooters enthusiastically announced that the finalists for the Miss Hooters Japan Contest 2019 have been chosen. Pared down from a pool of 51 entrants, the 15 finalists, selected from among the chain’s waitstaff, will appear at a special event in Tokyo Shinjuku to crown the winner of the contest’s ninth iteration, who will then travel to the U.S. in June to compete in the Miss hooters World Tournament.

▼ A few of this year’s finalists

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The Miss Hooters Japan finals will take place at the chain’s Tokyo Shinjuku Nishiguchi branch on April 15, with the doors opening at 6 p.m. and the festivities getting underway an hour later. Ticket prices range from 5,000 yen for a spot in the standing area, while the top-of-the-line SS Ticket, for 14,000 yen, gets you a spot with a superior view of the contest stage, where the contestants will appear in no less than three outfits: their Hooters uniform, a swimsuit, and a costume of their own choosing. The SS Ticket also gets you a 2,500-yen food/drink voucher and both a T-shirt autographed by the 15 finalists as well as a mini photo session with them.

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Meanwhile, HJ itself will be working within the framework of the Civil Rehabilitation Law to restructure its outstanding bad debt. The company owes an estimated 560 million yen to a total of 56 creditors.

Observers spotted a sign of trouble at the start of the year when Hooters’ Fukuoka branch closed down, and analysts say sales for Hooters branches in Japan have sagged in recent years, though they haven’t offered any theories as to why. Perhaps, like the busty ramen and breast slash restaurants mentioned above, Japan prefers the pop-up or limited-time model for its overtly sexy dining establishments, and Hooters hasn’t been getting the sort of repeat business it does in other countries. It could also be that while Japan’s countless hostess bars prove there’s a robust market for alcohol and snacks being served by young women in revealing outfits, Japanese customers prefer a quieter, more intimate atmosphere to the boisterous vibe at Hooters. Or maybe it’s neither of those, and Japan’s preexisting tebasaki chicken wing culinary tradition has conditioned local palates to reject Hooters’ hot sauce-slathered menu stars.

However, just because Hooters Japan is declaring bankruptcy doesn’t mean the chain is going out of business. HJ has promised that all six current Hooters Japan locations (four in Tokyo and one each in Osaka and Nagoya) will remain in operation.

Sources: Tokyo Shoko Research via IT Media@PressHooters Japan 

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo Hooters now offers rental work spaces, and they’re free for students

-- Hooters opening gaming bar in Tokyo in partnership with video game company Namco

-- Contest aims to find the most beautifully muscled member of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

69 Comments
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Visited the one in Osaka (Honmachi) once when it just opened, long lines. It was okay. Food was terrible though. Lately the place looked deserted. Why go to hooters when for a little bit more money you can go to the oppaipub.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

I don’t give one.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Been to one in Cleveland, traveled 200 miles to see a Genesis tribute band, not hooters.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Do Japanese not know to what the term "hooters" refers? The pic above would argue not.

-7 ( +12 / -19 )

number 4 vote!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Push-up bras and photoshop? Lol

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

I guess it's difficult to run a business called, Hooters when there aren't any.

-2 ( +15 / -17 )

Guess they weren't sufficiently perky.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

A case of cultural appropriation failing...

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Never saw the appeal, at home or here. A friend planned a bachelor party at Hooter's in Atlanta once. When the rest of us got wise, it got shifted to some topless bar. The last thing I remember is playing volleyball with the girls, in an actual sand court that was part of the facility. Maybe not the Japanese bloke's cup of tea but they certainly have their own better options if they want to ogle scantily clad girls.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

One could say the business went tits up...

31 ( +31 / -0 )

It's a funny article littered with innuendo, business sagged? As restaurants go I've been told the food was flat.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

been a few times, meh.

I think the girls there are nice, but perhaps not to the average Japanese guys taste. Someone who's into this type of place in Japan would most likely gravitate toward a more cutesy, childish decorum. These girls intimidate Japanese men I think.

Been a few times

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

Number 4, Bian, gets my vote.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Good riddance to misogynistic rubbish like this.

-13 ( +19 / -32 )

Their business model was artificially propped up and now investors, suppliers are left dangling. Hard thing to grasp. Tiny t-shirt makers will be at a loss.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Food was great though! Wonder when all the soap land shops and so called male entertainment establishments go out of business.

-25 ( +1 / -26 )

There is an obvious difference between those other establishments and hooters. Japanese men that loves going to these places are mostly nerdy, anime type guys. They like the cute, anime-like, submissive girls. They are intimated by the type of girls found at hooters. Just not their cup of tea. Japanese guys who do likes the hooters type girls usually don't spend money on watching girls with big boobs serve wings.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Hooters goes bust - geddit?

I went to one of these in the US once and had diarrhoea all the following day. Lesson learnt.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

In the top photo, the girls are wearing something close to "bloomers", the skimpy high school sports shorts that are a common fetish in Japan. I think your average Japanese letch were prefer them to be navy, school uniform colour, than orange.

I guess its Photoshop, but the girls' legs are a completely different colour to their arms. Does the Hooters getup include flesh tights? What a turn-off if it does.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

I've been forced to visit Hooters by business contacts in Asia and South America a few times. The food has always been terrible. Something is lost, in the translation.

The photos of the girls above are quite fetching, but not enough to get me into the restaurants.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Reminds me of Hanako, too soft. Kyabas and girls bars are many times better than this low level crap from the US.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Their food was great and a unique American theme. Mismanagement is to blame, the HQ should of taken over, or another company. How can hooters go bust and hostess, maid cafe and other similar never go bust

4 ( +7 / -3 )

My first thought when I saw the news was that they probably went under because their food was mediocre at best, yet high priced.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

.

no loss

.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

bass4funkToday 10:06 am JST

Food was great though!

That is the first time I've ever seen that comment applied to Hooters.

You must love JP chainstore pizza.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

An idea whose time went south in the '70's, along with big hair bands.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

It's a toss up between 4 and 2.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

papigiulio: "Visited the one in Osaka (Honmachi) once when it just opened, long lines. It was okay. Food was terrible though. Lately the place looked deserted."

I've been to the Hooter's in Osaka several times as it's not far from where I go do business, and while it is pretty empty at lunch times, in the evenings I've seen it so jam packed you have to wait on the stairs, especially if there's a popular sporting event. As for the food, it's pretty typical pub fare, and overpriced, but the point is, it's typical pub fare for an American bar, and very hard to find elsewhere. While most, I agree, isn't that spectacular. you can't beat the chicken wings (unless you make good ones yourself).

"Why go to hooters when for a little bit more money you can go to the oppaipub."

THAT is why they are going bust, so to speak. One of the women at the Osaka branch is a friend, which is why I went there the first time. She told me they get drunk oyaji who want to grab them and become furious when they cannot -- they honestly feel entitled. So, since it's not a glorified soapland or oppaipub where you likely CAN touch and grab and the "customer is god" even if you're not supposed to, the glamor has worn off for many locals. They are also always in very high rent areas, Hommachi being the commerce area of Osaka as a case in point.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I wouldn't be eating chicken wings at Hooters, or anywhere else.  Never been to a Hooters and suspect I never will.  The concept just doesn't appeal.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I think 99 out of 100 people who use the word misogynistic have no idea what it means.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Hooter goes tits up

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The people who think that Hooters has good wings are the same people who think that McD's has good burgers. That said, it's hard to find proper wings in Japan otherwise, so perhaps beggars shouldn't be choosers.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Never been to a Hooters in Japan and by the sounds of things I wasn't missing out on much.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Never been to a Hooters in Japan and by the sounds of things I wasn't missing out on much.

Well, their business plan was basically the same as in other countries - tight clothes, dancing shows periodically, American food.

But I think their generic American food has a hard time being appealing in a city like Tokyo at the prices they were offering. Too many better places to eat, for the same price or cheaper.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hooters goes bust

Nice play on words! Hee hee!

A few of this year’s finalists

I can see why they are among the finalists.

the 15 finalists, selected from among the chain’s waitstaff, will appear at a special event in Tokyo Shinjuku to crown the winner of the contest’s ninth iteration, who will then travel to the U.S. in June to compete in the Miss Hooters World Tournament.

I predict Entry #4 Bian will be the winner in Shinjuku.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Actually, I like all 8 of them all.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Poor food, lame concept.  Shows that not every US "cultural export" makes it elsewhere.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Toasted Heretic

Good riddance to misogynistic rubbish like this.

So right. It was for boobs.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The last time I saw tops that tight I was in a bar in Roppongi filled with US soldiers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I always thought they were stretching it, but now I guess they have inflated themselves too far.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Whenever I went the waitresses basically ignored us and got a sour look on their face when we even glanced at them. So no thanks. I don’t need attitude with my subpar overpriced food.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

From what I have heard/read, hooters aren't doing too well in Europe & Australia either.

I think it's a very north American thing tbh I.e pubs full of blokes, very few female customers (unaccompanied I mean) etc. What's the point? Not a great concept in countries/cities with plenty of quality sports bars, pubs, pick-up bars etc.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since they're bankrupt. Why don't they make a restaurant like this and name it "DICKIES" , waiters are Men with chiseled abs, wearing very tight bikini briefs and the floor a bit elevated so the crotch is on the same level as customers' faces. To be fair with women.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Since they're bankrupt. Why don't they make a restaurant like this and name it "DICKIES" , waiters are Men with chiseled abs, wearing very tight bikini briefs and the floor a bit elevated so the crotch is on the same level as customers' faces. To be fair with women.

If it was a valid business plan, why not? I'm not sure what fairness with women has to do with it though. I actually think you'd be more likely to find this to be profitable if the target audience were gay men.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I've been forced to visit Hooters

I bet they really had to twist your arm, haha!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let’s face it- sexual connotations and food don’t go together. We need to be abreast of that.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I was told before I ever came to Japan to beware of the sexism that seems to be inherent. Little did I know a lot of it comes from other gaijin.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I was told before I ever came to Japan to beware of the sexism that seems to be inherent. Little did I know a lot of it comes from other gaijin

Not only and definitely not by all gaijin.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Not only and definitely not by all gaijin.

Read my post again. I didn't say it was only gaijin, nor did I say all gaijin.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Toasted Heretic

Come on, lighten up a bit. There have been a few decent cracks on this thread.

Remember, as you told us, the male ego is fragile and we have a need to dominate ( I don’t see why gaijin or Japanese is relevant to that ). Maybe the Hooters, strip clubs, hostess bars etc reflect our innate fragility and need to dominate.

We can’t escape what we are. All near 4 billion of us ;).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Be careful . . .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There have been a few decent cracks on this thread

Howz this one?

Queen Elizabeth and a Hooters waitress die on the same day, and both go before an Angel to find out if they'll be admitted to Heaven. Unfortunately, there's only one space left that day, so the Angel must decide which of them gets in. The Angel asks the Hooters waitress if there's some particular reason why she should go to Heaven. The waitress takes off her top and says, "Look at these, they're the most perfect breasts God ever created, and I'm sure it will please God to be able to see them every day, for eternity". The Angel thanks the waitress and asks Her Majesty the same question. The Queen takes a bottle of Perrier out of her purse, and drinks it down, then pees into a toilet and flushes it. The Angel says, "OK, your Majesty, you may go in". The waitress is outraged and asked, "What was that all about, I show you two of God's own perfect creations and you turn me down. She pees into a toilet and she gets in! Would you explain that to me"? "Sorry," says the Angel, "but even in Heaven a Royal Flush beats a pair no matter how big they are".

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I originally thought the waitresses were topless... no wonder they're going out of business here !

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

no loss

You're right - no loss:

HJ has promised that all six current Hooters Japan locations (four in Tokyo and one each in Osaka and Nagoya) will remain in operation.

Hee hee!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

With a Hooters just 2 miles away from my home here in the USA I am not a fan of their menu nor their servers.

I have only gone there 1 time and did not find it engaging enough to return as a regular customer.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Larry Smith,

That makes sense because clientele is straight males in general. My wife would bust a jugular if I suggested dinner at Hooters, Chippendales might be ok however.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hooters should have stayed in business long enough to give trans-women an opportunity. Could this be the real reason they’ll closing down the operation in Japan?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Never saw the appeal of Hooters. Cute girls? They are everywhere in Japan? Overpriced and mediocre cheeseburgers? Well, we still have the Hard Rock Cafe (another place to avoid). For the price of a cheeseburger meal and a couple beers at these places, I could have my pick of any number of wonderful restaurants serving fresh, originally prepared foods cooked by a real chef.

And, as others have said, a restaurant full of guys ogling the waitresses. Can't think of a less appetizing atmosphere. Why not just dine in a locker room?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Went once in Osaka and was unimpressed.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Only too glad to see this go away. The constant sexualization of young women is a major problem and makes it hard for a women, much less a pretty one, to be taken seriously in this male-privileged Japanese society.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Even the sexiest waitresses are no match if the food is substandard and overpriced. I've been to a Hooters in America once and that's pretty much what you get. The waitresses were also too skinny - bags of bones wearing T-shirts too tight so you can see their ribs.  That ain't very sexy to me.

And $3 - $4 for a soft drink is just too ridiculous. We can do better than that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kohakuebisuMar. 28 10:16 am

I guess its Photoshop, but the girls' legs are a completely different color to their arms. Does the Hooters getup include flesh tights? What a turn-off if it does.

I just noticed that too. Those are darker legs on those ladies! They can't be authentic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Couldn't find the staff ? Asian Women tend not to have big Busts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Couldn't find the staff ? Asian Women tend not to have big Busts.

No, staffing never seems to be a problem there.

The girls are usually young and cute, and if you're nice and not lecherous they are friendly. Probably the same as everywhere.

It's just that in a country like Japan, their food at that price doesn't work. Too many better places to eat at the same price or cheaper, and often with young cute girls working, and if you're nice and not lecherous, they are generally friendly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, I'm not really into American food so wont miss the opportunity of never having visited "Hooters".... I'd probably feel it a bit embarrassed too, as it would be rather demeaning for those young ladies to be serving me for what purpose... ? Gimmicks come and go. Lots of restaurants even the good ones forget their roots and fail, so it's not surprising that Hooters has lost its appeal in Japan - perhaps it just missed its Bubble period.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, "demeaning" was the word I was searching for. Thank you, mmwkdw.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What's demeaning? Serving food? Then there are a lot of people being demeaned every day in Tokyo. Or showing off their bodies? Um, people with nice bodies like people looking at their bodies. I know this as someone who has professionally shown their body. I never felt demeaned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Went to the one in Honmachi, Osaka a couple of times. The girls were amicable enough. It should be clear that the clientele do not go for the food per se. I guess the chicken wings are ok but as for what else they serve.....Let's just say that I've tasted better at your local Irish pub. As has been stated, there are an abundance of hostess clubs and gals' bars which Japanese men tend to gravitate to so Hooters is clearly no match.

Oh, and I personally prefer entry number 13.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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