According to Technomic, a research and consulting firm servicing the food service industry, sales last year at Twin Peaks, a theme based restaurant in Addison, Texas, grew 35 percent to $44 million from the previous year.
And the 22-restaurant chain’s owner, Randy DeWitt, knows very well what the chain’s main attraction is — skimpy plaid tops that accentuates the waitresses’ bulging breasts.
The chain’s logo is an image of two pointy, snow-capped mountains, promising “scenic views”.
The Daily Mail points out that Twin Peaks is part of a booming niche in the struggling restaurant industry known as “breastaurants“, or sports bars that feature scantily clad waitresses.
While DeWitt obviously knows the REAL score, he insists that the restaurant’s appeal is hearty meals and a focus on making customers feel special.
“We believe in feeding the ego before feeding the stomach,” he says. Or as the restaurant’s website boldly states: “Twin Peaks is about you, `cause you’re the man!”
Technomic claims the nation’s top three “breastaurant” chains behind Hooters each had sales growth of 30 percent or more last year; however, they only represent less than 1 per cent of the nation’s top restaurants.
In contrast, other mid-priced options like Applebee’s and Bennigan’s have experienced declines during the economic slump.
Indeed, market research indicates weak consumer demand for upscale dining. Moreover, when customers do dine out, they scrutinize their dining checks closer which has dampened alcohol consumption at both casual and fine dining restaurants.
Even though Hooters pioneered the “breastaurant” concept in the 1980s, the chain is currently struggling. In April, to breath new life into the chain, Hooters improved its menu with items such as a Baja burger, buffalo chicken sliders and a spinach and shrimp salad.
The idea is to offer dishes that draw new customers, says David Henninger, Hooters’ chief marketing officer. Currently, more than three quarters of Hooters customers are male, with an average age of 45.
The newer breastaurants offer themes such as rustic lodges and Celtic pubs, plus varied menus that include pot roast and shepherd’s pie instead of just burgers and wings.
“The younger crowds want to go to a newer place, not where mom and dad took them,” says Darren Tristano, an analyst at Technomic.
At Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery in Tempe, Arizona, waitresses wear matching tartan mini-skirts and bras that fit in with the restaurant’s Celtic theme.
Tilted Kilt serves dishes such as shepherd’s pie and “Irish nachos” and had annual sales of $124 million last year, a growth of 33 percent. By the end of this year, the company expects to have 95 locations, up from 57 at the end of last year.
About three-quarters of Tilted Kilt’s customers are men with an average age of 36.
At Mugs N Jugs in Clearwater, Florida, the waitresses wear tank tops and shorts. The restaurant has a game room, pool table and karaoke. Sales grew to $3 million in 2008, from $700,000 in 1998, but have since declined because of the recession.