Even the founders did not believe in the success of the first Hooters restaurant. They considered their business an April Fool’s joke and did not even hope that anyone would be interested in it. But everything turned out differently: the rights to the brand were bought by a group of investors led by Robert Howell Brooks. This is how the Hooters of America, Inc. organization was born, which opened several new food outlets, a hotel-casino, and its airline. In addition, there is a separate restaurant chain Hooters, Inc. It uses the same trademark, although a different investment firm owns it.
Meaning and History
Hooters, a food and entertainment brand, has become famous worldwide for its unusual concept, built on a friendly atmosphere. Guests of establishments can order chicken wings and chat with the so-called Hooters Girls – waitresses who should smile cheerfully and support any conversation. They wear the same uniform: white T-shirts with the franchise logo and short orange shorts. Because of their appearance and the menu of beer, sandwiches, salads, and seafood, the beach mood always prevails in restaurants. It is not surprising that whole families go there to eat and relax.
Despite the lack of overt vulgarity, the Hooters brand image is built on ambiguities. Even in her name, a subtext can be noticed if you know the North American slang: the word “hooters” disparagingly refers to a woman’s breasts. As the owners of the brand admitted, this is reflected in the logo. The designers deliberately made the letters “O” look double by adding black dots inside. The main meaning of the term (“whistle”) is also interestingly played: in the background, there is an owl known for its ability to hoot loudly.
1983 – 2013
As Dave Henninger, who is in charge of marketing strategy for Hooters of America, admitted, the franchise’s very first logo was once an illustration in the dictionary. The artists copied the finished drawing – a long-eared owl with striped brown and white feathers. Given the source of origin, the image is detailed. But the bird’s eyes were not visible: they were covered by two large orange letters “O” from the word “HOOTERS.” Only small dots-pupils were shown from the in-letter gaps. The lettering was in the foreground and looked out of the ordinary thanks to the bold bubble font.
2013 – present
On July 18, 2013, the brand owners presented a new version of the owl. The redesign has been timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the opening of the first Hooters restaurant. It was hosted by Sky Design, which was tasked with bringing millennials to the catering chain. Experts have kept the franchise’s legacy but changed its presentation: now the bird looks less realistic and smoother.
Two letters “O” in combination with sharp brown ears seem to be a carnival mask. The teardrop-shaped wing is set forward. It resembles the bristles of an art brush. The detailed feathers were replaced by colored spots: brown and gray in several shades.
The modern logo reflects Hooters’ transformation. Surveys have shown that customers rated the new brand image highly and selected it nine times out of 10. The transformed symbol gradually appeared on all signs, banners, uniforms, digital platforms, products, and restaurant menus. It became part of a massive campaign because even the food changed with the owl. The network wanted to attract women’s attention, but how effective its methods were is unclear: the eyes of the iconic bird still look ambiguous.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The Hooters brand name is called Hootie. It has been criticized more than once because of double associations, but the brand owners do not see anything wrong with this. They are confident that a little provocative irony will not harm the image of the restaurants but will only increase the flow of customers. The company has redesigned Starbucks and Wendy’s to showcase its modernity. This move allowed her to catch up with competitors in the face of Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks. As a result, the old scruffy owl became younger and more streamlined, while the ambiguity of the bird’s eyes was preserved.
The iconic emblem is combined with the ‘HOOTERS’ lettering. Designers used cartoon typography for its design – a bubble bold sans serif font. The color of the word is also very bold because orange is closely associated with pop culture and the freedom-loving hippie movement. It reflects an atmosphere of happiness, ease, and good humor. The owl, in turn, is depicted in several shades of gray and brown.