Recently, Hooters’ new uniforms – including shorts many say are more like underwear – went viral.
When one 20-year-old Louisiana employee heard about them, they worried they’d have to quit their job.
This is their story, as told to freelance writer Jamie Killin.
This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with a 20-year-old Louisiana Hooters employee. They chose to remain anonymous to protect their job, but their employment has been verified by Insider. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
I’ve been working at a Hooters in Louisiana for nine months, and I heard about the chain’s revealing new uniform changes – which include shorts that have been compared to thong underwear – on social media like everyone else. I’m 20 years old and work mornings, afternoons, and nights.
When I saw the news going around online, especially on TikTok, I was concerned.
Fortunately, my Hooters franchise location chose not to implement the new uniform guidelines, so our team wasn’t asked to wear them. Our owner didn’t want them at all, so that worked in our favor.
But I didn’t know that at first.
The new Hooters uniforms went viral, so we asked if we were getting them, too
When we saw online that the shorts were being added to the uniform at other locations – often, through viral TikToks like the ones in this story – we asked if we were getting them, too. But we didn’t even have a meeting to discuss the topic at my location. It just wasn’t happening.
I think we all made it very clear we didn’t want them, and it was a huge relief when we learned we wouldn’t have to wear them. I don’t know of one coworker who was in favor of the controversial shorts.
We’re in a very conservative area in the South, so they want to keep it family-friendly in the restaurant because a lot of families come in. We get more families than anything at that location.
The current uniform can be uncomfortable as is, so I wouldn’t have wanted the new, more revealing shorts. The traditional uniform is cute, and we love it. But it’s still physically uncomfortable, as well as a bit revealing.
There’s also the fact that we still do have a few – not many, but a few – customers who aren’t the best and who make us feel uneasy.
For example, I once had a table of two men talking to me. They started getting weird, asking me about my sex life and things like that. I’m a 20-year-old girl, so that made me really uncomfortable.
When I told my manager I didn’t think I could serve them, my manager told me I wouldn’t be serving them anymore and they left. Our managers always have our back. Even though the customer is always right in a sense, my managers don’t tolerate harassment.
I would have quit if I would have been required to wear the new ‘underwear’ shorts
Even though I love working at Hooters, I wouldn’t have stayed with the new shorts.
I’m not alone, either. The backlash was so bad that Hooters has made the new shorts optional for employees who are at a location with the new uniform.
I started working at Hooters after being in a toxic work environment for three years. Starting at Hooters was like a breath of fresh air. I’ve met my best friends while working at Hooters – the girls are so nice and welcoming. Everyone’s friends with each other and the other staff members.
We have so many amazing regulars, who are so sweet and cool and take very good care of us. My location is especially amazing because of our management, staff, and clientele. It’s truly like a family – we all help and look out for each other.
Girls are so willing to help out, some people have given our cooks rides to and from work. Even managers will pick you up and bring you home.
I couldn’t have picked a better location to work at, and I’m glad the new uniforms didn’t jeopardize that.
Read the original article on Business Insider