Hooters a ‘natural thing’ for downtown: club owner

Andrew Robinson
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Live music venue Club One will close in March

A chain restaurant best known for its busty waitresses in tight outfits will soon have a St. John’s location.

A Hooters restaurant is set to open later this spring in the building that Club One currently occupies on George Street.

In a status update posted to its Facebook page Sunday, the Sundance Complex said Club One will close as a music venue in March and reopen later in the spring as Hooters.

The last concert at Club One —  featuring Halifax rock band Gloryhound — is scheduled to take place Feb. 21. The music venue has played host to mid-sized concerts for more than a decade.


Forced to make a change

Club One owner John Cook told The Telegram business has been slow for the last year, thus forcing him to make a change.

“(Hooters) is just a natural thing for downtown St. John’s,” said Cook, who hopes to see Hooters open in June.

Reaction to the news has been swift on social media.

Some have bemoaned the loss of a live music venue that could accommodate large crowds, while others have taken issue with Hooters marketing practices in relation to its female employees.

One woman who works in the service industry told The Telegram Monday that she is already concerned about the challenges its employees will inevitably face.

“I know how hard it is to deal with sexual harassment,” said the woman, who did not want to provide her name. “Working in the industry, I’ve seen it be an issue.”

Asked what suggestions she might have for management, she said staff should be encouraged to tell customers where to go if the situation calls for it.

“Make sure the girls are allowed to tell people to f--- off,” she said. “Because I know where I work, I’m allowed to say that ... I’ll say, ‘You’re being inappropriate, I’m going to kick you out.’ As long as they can say that sort of thing or there’s some sort of training in place (to say) this is the kind of stuff you’re going to deal with.”

Cook said he does not expect harassment will be an issue at his restaurant once it opens. He added his managers have been working with staff on George Street for a long time and are well aware of what sort of customers they may deal with.

“That’s not something we’re worried about whatsoever.”

Asked whether he expected some members of the public to react negatively, Cook noted the presence of two strip bars near his businesses.

“We’re not a strip bar,” he said. “It’s a family restaurant. It’s catering to children. If you go on the site, you see children go to this place. And a big part of it is it’s a sports bar.”

One person The Telegram spoke with Monday did suggest news of a Hooters restaurant coming to St. John’s was nothing to talk about in a place already filled with eating establishments where customers can watch live sports.

“I don’t see any difference in it really,” said the man, who did not want to provide his name. “Have a feed, watch the game and everything else. The way the waitresses dress, that doesn’t matter.”

Cook’s Hooters will become the lone location in Atlantic Canada. A Hooters in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia closed in 2009 following a fire.



Geographic location: George Street, June.Reaction, Atlantic Canada Dartmouth Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Allan Campbell
    January 30, 2014 - 12:34

    I wouldn't say they will be all "natural". It's just another restaurant; if you don't want to go; the place is full of restaurants.

  • Darrell
    January 30, 2014 - 09:22

    I've been to a few Hooters around Canada and it is just a nice play to go, hang out, have a pint, enjoy some nice wings and enjoy the scenery. No crime there is it?

  • Tamara
    January 28, 2014 - 19:17

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion...mine is that any food establishment that is focussed on providing quality food and great service would not have to rely on anything else....I'm just saying...and no worries about anyone going there who doesn't like it....we''ll leave this establishment for those who do!!!

  • Tom
    January 28, 2014 - 16:57

    If you people who are complaining did your research on this company you would see that they are very positive. This company has great incentive programs for all of their employees, they have programs in place to show people exactly what they are about, and, they give scholarships to their employees. Some of the most influential women in the US have worked at Hooters, including politicians, CEO's, Doctors, and Lawyers. I have been to Hooters many times when I have visited different locations in the US and it is a thoroughly enjoyable restaurant very friendly atmosphere, and the women wear more when working at this restaurant than I have seen some of you young ladies wear in clubs downtown when you are looking to get picked up by some guy on a saturday night.

  • Herb Morrison
    January 28, 2014 - 15:05

    A recent column documenting the history of women in this Province, who have been murdered. This particular column recieved 13 comment from readers. This particular article pertaining to the proposed establishment of a Hooters Restaurant, which supposedly will feature scantily clad,well-endowed women, has already nurtured 18 responses and counting. Some comments made in relation to the story posted above, reflect a genuine concern for women's rights, which is a positive thing. Sadly, the majority of comment posted with regard to the Hooter's story reflect a desire on the part of their writer to dictate morality. I will not be frequenting Hooters. Lets face it, if you've seen two, you've seen 'em all. Finally, unless someone is cohering a woman into working in such an establishment any cries of either sexism or exploitation are invalidated by the fact that the women in question are exercising their right of freedom of choice, guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  • Donna
    January 28, 2014 - 14:25

    A bunch of pathetic men who couldn’t get a pretty woman to give them the time of day go to these places to reaffirm their masculinities and leer at girls half their age. They'll smile at you if you give them a big enough tip -- Big Boy.

    • Tony Montana's
      January 29, 2014 - 05:33

      A ton of women on here complaining, sounds like their significant others aren't looking at them the same lately. Hit a gym and stop complaining. Men don't complain about the oogling you all do at your soap opera's. We don't care. As a business owner, he can put benevolent irish boys choir with nuns serving pea soup and you'd all find something to complain about. Don't like it? Don't go!

  • Donna
    January 28, 2014 - 14:23

    A bunch of pathetic men who couldn’t get a pretty woman to give them the time of day with their filthy personalities go to these places to reaffirm their masculinities and leer at girls half their age. They'll smile at you if you give them a big enough tip -- big bos.

  • Happily retired
    January 28, 2014 - 14:08

    I can't believe that a bar/restaurant on George Street is causing this commotion. It looks like the sanctimonious people in this town are looking for every excuse to complain about everything. George Street is not a family location, so why would you take your five year old down there anyway. If somebody wants to spend his money and take a risk, so what, it's his money. If you don't approve, stay away.

  • david
    January 28, 2014 - 13:04

    I for one think thev owner of this Hotoer Franchise is perfectly correct. It is a natural thing for Hooters to set up shop in St,. John's. Every other franchise known to mankind has done so in spades, lugging away this province's oil lucre to mainland head offices. Heck, between that and every washed up 1980's music act coming here to haul away a load too, what would we do with all this loot?! Invest some for our own future??? Riggghhhttt!! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha......!!

  • In the meantime...
    January 28, 2014 - 11:49

    ...the rest of the world is evolving.

  • m
    January 28, 2014 - 11:15

    It's a sports bar with slightly dressed women as waitresses. How is this a family restaurant? What do the men have to wear? For sure there are men working at Hooters. The fact that the owner references the nearby Strip clubs tells me that he considers Hooters as being similar and he is simply attempting to make it seem otherwise. Who are the clientale of Hooters? I bet it is mostly men and that few families consider it an appropriate family experience.

  • Chantal
    January 28, 2014 - 11:11

    Don't pretend that it's another Montanna's; it's explicitly about using attractive women to make money. Would you like to have your daughters or sisters working there to be oogled by creepy men for a few extra dollars?

    • Calvin
      January 28, 2014 - 12:42

      Hahaha, Chantal how is that different than any other restaurant? Can you honestly say that women who work at other restaurants don't show a little cleavage to get an extra tip? You are lying to yourself and everyone else if you say otherwise. If my daughter was going to college or university, working as a waitress, I'd be ecstatic that she landed a job where she could make a couple hundred dollars a night in tips. The women who end up working here will be laughing at people like you all the way to the bank. If you don't like it, DON'T GO!! If you figure a restaurant is going to impress upon your sister or daughter that they have to use their body to get things, then they are going to have immense troubles in life no matter what.

  • kit
    January 28, 2014 - 11:03

    Well...I hope we are not stepping to an all time low...there goes the class I thought Nl had :(

  • dontgetmestarted
    January 28, 2014 - 10:46

    Same old pub grub, boring.

  • Stew
    January 28, 2014 - 09:22

    Ok so this is a family place?? So if I take my 5 year old son there he gets to know that woman are valued for the big breasts. I take my 5 year old girl there and she gets the message that she has to hope she has big breast when she grows up otherwise, she cannot work as wait staff?? Something wrong with that!!!

    • Calvin
      January 28, 2014 - 10:07

      How is that different from Boston Pizza or Montanas? The waitresses there are gorgeous and use what they have to garner tips. No different at Hooters. The girls wear tank tops, shorts, and a full body pantyhose type getup. If your child grows up to believe big breasts are the only way to get ahead in life then I'm sorry but your parenting skills are atrocious.

    • Jimmy Parsons Jr
      January 28, 2014 - 10:19

      So Stew, do you take your son/daughter swimming? Does he/she think that they have to be a certain weight to be a lifeguard? Ever see an overweight lifeguard with a bathing suit on? An employee has the right to hire who he/she wants to hire. Does he/she feel that you have to be a certain height/weight to be an iceCap? Time for you and many more to grow up.

    • Jay
      January 28, 2014 - 11:14

      Why would you want to limit your daughter to aspire to work as wait staff, not that there's anything wrong with that occupation. Surely you can encourage her to think for herself, get an education, and help her decision making process in order to take on any of the challenges which come with being an adult. Then she can make her own decisions. By the way, you can also choose to eat elsewhere

  • Shelly Noseworthy
    January 28, 2014 - 09:19

    I feel this is sexist. Only big boobed women with a certain shape can apply. Isn't this against the human rights code??

  • Craig Warren
    January 28, 2014 - 08:43

    Hooter's is a novelty eatery at best! I have been living in Ontario for many years witnessing first hand service both in Windsor and the Detroit markets...Bull don't be naïve and think this is going to be a Grand Slam! Service traditionally is not that good and the wings very average at best. Anyone can BBQ wings and add Franks Red Hot and compete with these so called Famous wings that you have to man handle to remove the tips.. Start looking into another concept because this chain has been beaten to death. George Street is not a family eating venue as parking remains an issue and parents are not looking to bring their kids into this area for food. I have seen more locations closed and converted over time in the past 20 years...save your money on franchise fees because it is a money losing operation due to inconsistencies. Proof is in the pudding...why do you think there are no other locations in Atlantic Canada since 2009?

  • John
    January 28, 2014 - 08:05

    'A family restaurant catering to children.' That's adorable . . .

  • Carl
    January 28, 2014 - 05:51

    I'm sure those who would go there for the "scenery" wouldn't mind having their daughters work there too for others to ogle. Then again, if it's big, crass, and American, it should do just fine.

  • Ian
    January 28, 2014 - 04:51

    Welcome Hooters Brestaurant where children are welcomed to go and observe the objectification of women by frat boy wanna bes and pervy old men in a family friendly environment where alcohol is served and a sporting event is incidentally on the TV. Hooters is not a strip club, their patrons only go there to get primed up BEFORE going to the strip club. Apply now to become a Hooters’ server; they do not discriminate unless you’re too fat, too old or too male. How lucky we are to have such a wholesome establishment coming to our town and the foods not that bad either!