Hooters Locations Go Bust, Along With Other MULO Restaurants Street Fight

Hooters Locations Go Bust, Along With Other MULO Restaurants

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Sometimes, we writers can’t resist a great pun! (Hooters…bust…get it?). But now let’s get serious.

Hooters is the latest MULO (multi-location) food chain to announce the closure of many locations. The sports bar just announced that it was closing underperforming stores (although they didn’t reveal an exact number).

But just because a MULO restaurant brand closes locations, that doesn’t mean bankruptcy is imminent. In fact, Hooters embarked on an effort to sell branded snacks in Publix supermarkets. Their plan is to release eight of these products this year.

Among other MULO restaurant brands that have downsized or shuttered locations, according to FSR Magazine, are:

  • Red Lobster (which shut down about 100 locations and declared bankruptcy)
  • A 48-unit Subway franchisee’s locations
  • Several units of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas
  • Rubio’s Coastal Grill
  • Sticky Fingers
  • Foxtrot and Dom’s Kitchen
  • Oberweis Dairy
  • Tijuana Flats

Forbes added to this list with brands such as:

  • Cracker Barrel
  • Applebee’s
  • TGI Fridays
  • Denny’s
  • Boston Market
  • MOD Pizza
  • PDQ

The high cost of labor and ingredients (as well as rent expenses ) has prompted many MULO fast-casual brands to examine their overall operating costs and the profitability of specific locations.

Consumer dining patterns are also changing, and many people are either looking for new dining options or choosing to cut back on expenses by eating at home. In fact, a study by Restaurant Dive reported that 36 percent of people are cutting back on restaurant dining due to cost and poor service.

Loyalty programs are a way MULO restaurant brands can attempt to keep consumers coming back and spending, but that may simply not be enough to counteract the high costs and complexity of running multiple locations. More than half of consumers don’t currently use loyalty programs, but if food and service aren’t appealing, no amount of points or discounts will sway behavior.

Hooters’ strategy of offering branded products is certainly not new, and many other food and beverage brands have jumped on that bandwagon, selling their favorite items at groceries and convenience stores. We expect the MULO restaurant landscape to evolve over the next decade, with brands diversifying and creating new revenue streams beyond the traditional dining experience.

To learn more about these trends and remain competitive in an ever-changing MULO world, join us in Chicago on November 7th for Street Fight LIVE. 


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.