Hooters Is Introducing This New Enticing Feature to Its Restaurants
During its almost 40-year history, restaurant chain Hooters has been reluctant to change its iconic concept. While this "breastaurant" isn't about to overhaul its image, it is working on expanding its customer base by replacing your go-to casino as a destination for betting.
Hooters recently struck a partnership with the sports betting company Draft Kings and has one in the works with Points Bet. The chain has already launched live betting at some restaurants in states that allow it and has placed in-store gaming machines in select Georgia locations. In 2020, the sports bar debuted TV screens that display game statistics, odds, and analytics in select Hooters located in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, and Tennessee.
Currently, only 80 Hooters restaurants are located in sports betting states, with 27 locations actively promoting gambling. Considering the fact that Hooters has 314 restaurants, the service is available at a small fraction of its footpring. According to CEO Sal Melilli, however, the partnership with Draft Kings and Points Bet is a move for the future, as the company anticipates more states to legalize sports gambling over the next few years and in turn, have Hooters become the premier destination for it.
"The model is set," Melilli told Forbes. "As fast as they become legal, the footprint is in place."
According to a study by Morning Consult, legalized sports betting has exploded in 2021, doubling in size during the year. Over $52.7 billion was wagered during that time, with nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults saying they bet on sports at least once a month.
Hooters noted that its affiliations with sports betting companies is far from over. Deals with Fan Duel or Barstool Bets could take shape in the future, as the company aims to take advantage of any opportunity for increasing its sports betting bandwidth. Not only are Hooters' core customers sports fans, but the company is looking to drive new gamblers into the restaurant and increase the time customers spend there.
To further appeal to sports gamblers, Hooters is looking to bring dedicated televisions that would provide daily sports betting schedules and odds to more locations. Additionally, the chain's popular hostesses will help customers with placing those bets.
"Now you can enjoy the game, you can bet on it and watch, on dedicated TVs, or place bets with Hooters girls who can talk sports," Melilli said. "Now you don't have to go to a casino. You just go to your neighborhood Hooters."
While the chain wants customers to spend time at the restaurant engaged in sports betting, the company doesn't aim to profit from its customers' losses. "The gaming license is with our partners; we're just the venue," Melili adds.
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