Some Hooters employees say they won't wear the new uniform shorts that are now optional: 'I feel like I'm working in my underwear'

·3 min read
  • Hooters employees went viral on TikTok while decrying the company's new, more revealing shorts.

  • Hooters of America agreed to make the new uniform shorts optional for workers.

  • Four workers and one previous employee told Insider what they thought about the new shorts.

Hooters employees made headlines last week as they spoke out on social media against new, smaller uniform shorts that rolled out in locations across the country. Servers and bartenders were largely against the idea of wearing the new shorts, which many compared to underwear.

Insider spoke with four current workers and one former worker in four states, whose names were withheld because they weren't authorized to speak to media.

Hooters new shorts
Some Hooters workers were uncomfortable with the chain's new shorts. Anonymous

A waitress in Alabama said that when the shorts were first introduced at her restaurant, servers had to sign consent forms agreeing to wear the shorts or risk being sent home.

"When I first put the shorts on, I was like, all right, whatever. After wearing them for a few shifts with a little time to process, I realized how uncomfortable I felt," she said.

Hooters, which has more than 400 locations across 42 states, is known for its wings and "Hooters Girls," who are known for "glamorous styled hair, camera-ready make-up, and her fit body which all contribute to her confidence and poise," a current job listing said. Workers have long worn revealing outfits, but now some say the new shorts are too far. 

"My manager said I was wearing them wrong and that they needed to be pulled up on the sides to create a U shape like a smiley, which made them look even smaller," another server in Florida said.

"These are not what I agreed to wear when I was hired," a South Carolina bartender said, echoing the complaints that other workers shared with Insider. "There's almost no bottom." 

"I feel like I'm working in my underwear," said another worker, also in Florida. The new shorts make people "feel like they can comment on my body more," the worker said.

Since the initial outcry on social media, Hooters of America agreed to make the new uniform shorts optional.

"As we continue to listen and update the image of the Hooters Girls, we are clarifying that they have the option to choose from traditional uniforms or the new ones," the spokesperson wrote in an earlier email to Insider. "They can determine which style of shorts best fits their body style and personal image."

Hooters of America, which did not respond to requests for further comment, said it would get employees' input in future uniform changes.

So far, one Hooters employee told Insider that her manager said she would still be required to wear the new style.

The Alabama waitress would "absolutely not" wear the new shorts now that she had a choice, she said. A former Hooters worker in Texas who left the job this summer said she would have quit over the shorts if she still worked there. "It would've been the last straw," she said. 

Workers said the reviews they got from customers were mixed.

"I've had customers say they do not feel comfortable coming to Hooters anymore and won't be back," the Florida server said. The Alabama waitress said customers at her location seemed to like the new shorts.

Even some kitchen staff and managers had reacted to the new shorts, the Alabama worker said.

She added: "It honestly feels worse when people that I thought of as colleagues that respected me" react this way. With "just a little bit more skin showing, you realize these men are objectifying me just as much as the customers." 

Do you work at Hooters? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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