"Breastaurants" the latest in recession-proof businesses

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Hooters is finally seeing some competition.

Turns out some restaurant entrepreneurs are realizing that what Hooters has on offer (good food, served by pretty, buxom young women), is a recipe for success, even in the current economic environment. Restaurants like Twin Peaks and Bone Daddy's, both of whom only hire women to serve food, are opening new restaurants and growing in an otherwise, er, flat market.

I wouldn't know this because I'm married, and of course, haven't any opinions on this, but these are women who are apparently, upon sight, able to make grown men drool and stammer like cavemen. And order lots and lots of meat-based entrees to wash their beer down with, apparently.

These restaurants -- that feature scantily-clad waitresses -- have become known as breastaurants, and are liberally borrowing from Hooter's well-established playbook. Hey, all's fair in love and food.

It may also have helped that Hooters has survived lawsuits from the Equal Employment Opportunity and individual men who wanted to become waiters at Hooters (though these lawsuits keep coming). Figuring that the law is on their side and that there's so much money to be made, we can probably expect entrepreneurs with an eye on the, um, bottom line, to open up more of these breastaurants in the near future.Not that Hooters is going to be an also-ran any time soon. There are only four Bone Daddy's, so far, all of them in Texas, and Twin Peaks has six--soon to be seven -- locations, also all in Texas. I guess it's true about everything being bigger in Texas. Still, Hooters brought in $997 million nationwide in 2008, up 2% from the year before, so these less endowed restaurants still have a ways to develop before they're a real threat.

Whether you like or loathe what they stand for, Hooters, with more than 380 restaurants open, has integrated itself pretty nicely into the national consciousness. It has a respected golf tournament that it sponsors, and like many businesses, it donates to good causes. American Idol's "Bikini Girl" Katrina Darrell was known on the show for having worked at Hooters (though she was recently fired for leaving in the middle of a shift).

Meanwhile, Hooters is predicting that it will have a record day on SuperBowl Sunday, forecasting sales of more than 2 million chicken wings. It's the company's biggest sales day of the year, in part due to an annual giveaway, where one lucky customer receives a big screen TV. Wonder if they'll want fries with that.
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