Last night I attended the V.I.P. Party for the new St. Thomas Virgin Islands Hooters. As I walked through the Hooter pearly gates I came through a tunnel of Hooter girls cheering me on as I entered the restaurant. Sort of like when an NFL team runs onto the field and through the cheerleaders. As tacky as it was I felt special and I smiled.
Those that have any experience with the Caribbean know that things that work in the states don?t always work in St. Thomas. Many chain restaurants have died a quick death in St. Thomas (ask Cold Stone Creamery and Taco Bell). But Hooters will live, I hope.
Hooters understands branding. They know their restaurant isn?t right for everyone. They try to be different. After all they?re not going to win any food awards (although the wings kick butt). They sell sex and a fun atmosphere, and it works.
For this special night they literally flew in about 50 Hooter girls from all over the world. Some went from the airport right to the new location and were serving me wings within an hour of landing. All the girls were true Hooter clones. You may not like it but once again it works. Being a Hooter girl is an honor. How many of your employee?s feel that way about working for your company? That?s branding!
I was happy to see that Hooters is Hooters even in St. Thomas. Right down to the last call cheer from atop the bar to the way the food tasted and the girls acted. It was a true Hooter experience.