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Hooters Abruptly Closes Dozens Of Locations—Is the Chain in Trouble?

Some will have to find a new go-to spot for chicken wings and cold beer.

Fans of Hooters may have to find a new go-to spot for their chicken wings and cold beer fix after the iconic sports bar chain was hit with a spate of sudden closures. 

Hooters has reportedly shuttered dozens of locations across at least five states in the past week. Local media reports indicate that Louisville, Ky.; Bryan, Texas; and Lakeland, Fla., are among the markets impacted by the closures. Some outlets estimate that about 40 Hooters locations in total have closed their doors for good. 

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When contacted for comment and more details on the closures, Hooters did not confirm exactly how many of its restaurants were shuttered recently. However, it did provide some insight into why the locations closed in a statement shared with Eat This, Not That!

"Like many restaurants under pressure from current market conditions, Hooters has made the difficult decision to close a select number of underperforming stores. Ensuring the well-being of our staff is our priority in these rare instances."

Hooters restaurant interior
Christophe KLEBERT / Shutterstock

As the statement noted, Hooters is far from the only chain that has been feeling some strain in today's tough restaurant industry. Changing consumer preferences, struggling trade areas, rising costs, a spending pullback from price-wary diners, and a variety of other factors have been blamed for declining sales and customer visits at some of America's most iconic restaurant brands in 2024, from KFC to Starbucks

Like Hooters, some of these chains have decided to eliminate struggling locations in the hopes of improving the overall health of their companies. Bloomin' Brands—the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill—announced in February that it was closing 41 underperforming locations, most of which were Outback restaurants. The closures were due to "a variety of factors, including sales and traffic, trade areas, and the investments that would have to be made to improve the restaurants," CEO David Dino said during an earnings call at the time. 

The fast-casual Mexican chain Rubio's Coastal Grill also abruptly closed 48 of its California locations shortly before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June. The company attributed the decision to "the rising cost of doing business in California" after the state recently raised its fast-food minimum wage from $16 to $20.

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Hooters has been struggling for years, with systemwide sales down nearly 15% since 2018 and its overall footprint down by 12%, according to data from the market research firm Technomic. Despite these financial woes and the latest wave of closures, Hooters still has plenty of confidence in its future. In its statement, the chain said it's still opening new locations in the United States and abroad. It also touted the new line of frozen Hooters appetizers and snacks that debuted at Publix stores nationwide earlier this month. 

"With new Hooters restaurants opening domestically and internationally, new Hooters frozen products launching at grocery stores, and the Hooters footprint expanding into new markets with both company and franchise locations, this brand of 41 years remains highly resilient and relevant. We look forward to continuing to serve our guests at home, on the go, and at our restaurants here in the U.S. and around the globe."

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe