The Hooters casual-dining chain is looking to defuse a controversy over its new uniforms for female employees, saying the updated thong-like shorts of the outfit are an option, not required garb.
Employees had posted objections to the new uniform bottoms through a flurry of social media postings last week, asserting the shorts were far skimpier than what they agreed to wear when hired. The crotch of the new shorts is a relatively thin strip, and the back and front are cut at angles to reveal more upper leg and butt.
Employees complained in the posts that the new shorts were not only more revealing but also less comfortable. A number of the TikTok videos and tweets said the pants rode high in the back, giving them what’s popularly known as a wedgie.
Hooters of America, the concept’s franchisor, issued a statement Saturday that said its “Hooters Girls” can stick with their former uniform if those outfits are a better fit for “their body style and personal image.”
It also said that the new uniforms were developed in collaboration with employees. The clothing also generated “overwhelmingly positive feedback” from team members when it was introduced in Texas several months ago, Hooters said.
The chain added that it “appreciates the feedback, both positive and negative, regarding a more accommodating and inclusive image policy on tattoos, jewelry, nails, hairstyles as well as new uniform options.”
“We’re excited to see a national trend toward self-expression and inclusivity that bodes well for our marketplace,” the statement read.
It is unclear whether the new uniforms were ever a requirement. The New York Post said it obtained a memo stating that the new outfit should be worn. But an earlier corporate statement provided by a spokesperson did not describe the new clothing as mandatory.
Since Hooters’ inception, waitresses in skimpy outfits have been a defining feature of the concept, along with wings and beer. That focus has generated considerable controversy for the chain, including challenges to its reliance on female servers.
Several years ago, the chain spun off a riff called Hoots, which featured male servers and less-revealing uniforms.
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