Hooters knocking on Malaysia’s door as titillating business balloons

World-famous ‘breastaurant’ Hooters is looking to expand its chain in Malaysia soon. ― AFP pic
World-famous ‘breastaurant’ Hooters is looking to expand its chain in Malaysia soon. ― AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 ― World-famous “breastaurant” Hooters is looking to open an outlet in Malaysia soon, according to Business Wire, as part of the international chain's expansion plan in Southeast Asia.

Hooters of America LLC said the six-year plan involves opening 30 outlets in Southeast Asia that, apart from Malaysia, includes destinations such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, according to a statement on the US-based news website.

The expansion plan, which may also see its entry into Hong Kong and Macau, is part of Hooters' development agreement with international franchisee Destination Resorts Co Ltd.

Hooters' first foray into Asia was in Singapore in December 1996.

Gary Murray, CEO of Destination Resorts Co Ltd, said his firm prides itself on introducing “fresh, exciting” dining concepts to guests and Hooters, he added, fits such a profile.

“The moment the doors opened to Hooters Phuket we realised the tremendous opportunity to greatly broaden our efforts to develop the Hooters brand across Asia,” he was quoted saying in the statement.

The Hooters name is a double entendre that refers to women's breasts, as well as the company's logo of an owl, which is a bird known for making “hooting” sounds.

Its wait staff, who are primarily young, voluptuous girls in revealing outfits, are referred to as “Hooter girls”.

The restaurant serves typical all-American grub including hamburgers, steaks, sandwiches, seafood platters and a variety of appetisers, and is famous for its specialty, the “Hooters buffalo-style chicken wings”.

According to the restaurant's website, the chain currently has 430 outlets in 28 countries. Almost all Hooters restaurants have alcoholic beverage licences.

Hooters’ planned arrival here may not sit well with religious conservatives.

Last January, several leaders in Muslim-majority Malaysia lodged protest over reports that world-famous Hard Rock Cafe was planning to open an outlet in Putrajaya, the country's administrative capital.

Responding to objections by Malay-rights group Perkasa, authorities here said should the franchise, which is known as a live music venue that serves alcohol, ever open its doors in Putrajaya, it would have to abide by regulations set by the local council .

The council's guidelines includes, among others, a ban on the sale of alcohol and obscene entertainment.

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