The ‘real’ Hooters opens at Mall of Asia
By Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo
Special to BusinessMirror
“THE owl is landing at the Mall of Asia on April 28.”
Kaz Endo, managing director and partner of Paradise Wings LLP, a Guam-based company that owns the Hooters franchise for Guam and Asia, including the Philippines, was referring to the owl logo of the popular US restaurant chain. The Hooters logo is known worldwide as it is printed on the tight-fitting, white, spandex, sleeveless shirts of the restaurant’s buxomy wait staff.
“We are currently finishing up our plans for the grand opening, and let me just say it’ll be a blast! [There will be] live bands, free giveaways and, of course, everyone will finally be able to try our world-famous Hooters chicken wings and burgers,” said Endo in an e-mail to the BusinessMirror.
A “special VIP party” will also be held on April 26, with only select guests invited, according to the restaurant executive.
He said about $1 million will be invested to open the first outlet of Hooters right outside the Mall of Asia (MOA), reputed to be the largest mall in Asia which is owned and operated by the SM Group of Filipino-Chinese taipan Henry Sy. “Our restaurant is part of the restaurant row at San Miguel by the Bay. We are located at Building ‘D’ and have plenty of parking space in front of us, so our guests will find it very convenient to come for lunch and dinner.”
He said the originally-planned location for the restaurant at The Fort Entertainment Strip ran into some snags so the company decided to push forward with the MOA site. “We hit some delays with The Fort that was unfortunate, but we have since resolved them. When MOA became a green light, we proceeded with our plans to open it first. In hindsight, the delay at The Fort was fortunate as we have since changed our design ideas for the interiors.” The restaurant at The Fort was supposed to have opened in February. (See “Coming soon at The Fort: Hooters,” BusinessMirror, November 6, 2007.)
Hooters at the MOA is approximately 350 square meters, “but if you add the outdoor area, it becomes about 100 sqm larger,” Endo said. He said the entire area has a total seating capacity for 250 people.
Over 100 staff will be employed at the MOA site, including at least 50 female waitstaff. “We worked with MTV recently to do a ‘recruitment’ party and we will continue to work with local marketers to cast our Hooters girls,” he said.
Since news of Hooters opening in Manila was published in this paper, Filipino bloggers have been spreading the word about the restaurant’s opening. Some also wondered if the restaurant will also come out with a Hooters calendar like its US outlets.
Endo said the company is “considering” publishing a calendar and a magazine for its Filipino customers by 2009.
He added that Hooters Girls from the US will be flying into town during the first three weeks of operation at the MOA, “as they will be here as guests to help train and observe our local talent.”
Meanwhile, Endo said the company is aware of the fake Hooters restaurant along Diosdado Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City, which calls itself “Hooters Sports Bar and Restaurant”. He said: “Without going into detail at this time, I will just say that Hooters of America and the principles of that specific operation are currently in a legal dispute over trademark and concept infringment. Meanwhile, as the only authorized official franchisee of the Hooters brand, I encourage all customers who are curious about our restaurant concept to visit us soon! Hooters is a family-friendly environment with great food, casual atmosphere, and of course, Manila’s coldest beers!”
The fake Hooters sports bar uses a tarsier as its logo, but its large eyes are also positioned as the two “O”’s of its name, much like the real Hooters brand’s owl logo.