Hooters Packs Its Bags

by Arkansas Business staff  on Monday, Jan. 10, 1994 12:00 am  

It's official: Hooters is leaving Little Rock.

Tim Dorsey, an investor in the group with franchise rights to Hooters in Little Rock, confirms that the restaurant and bar's doors have swung shut for good.

"The sales have gone so soft there that we just decided to go ahead and try somewhere else," Dorsey says.

Best known for its waitresses who wear body-hugging short shorts and midriff-bearing T-shirts, Hooters opened to much publicity and curiosity in November 1992. But it was publicity of the negative sort that Dorsey blames for Hooters' inability to take hold in Little Rock.

Hooters was the subject of numerous critical reports by KARK-TV, Channel 4, following an incident in August in which one of two underage men who had been served beer at Hooters was killed in a car wreck after leaving the restaurant. Dorsey says sales subsequently dropped by about 40 percent. He blames the drop largely on KARK's series of reports about the incident, which he believes unfairly characterized Hooters as "the bad guys."

According to a police report and Dorsey, who says he has affidavits from patrons supporting his statements, the men's rowdy behavior led to them being asked to leave before either finished a glass of beer. He says blood-alcohol content tests later showed "they had been drinking plenty of other places before they got to Hooters."

Dorsey says Hooters' closing means the loss of 115 jobs and leaves a void on the sports bar scene in Little Rock. He says the investor group that has franchise rights in Arkansas would like to possibly try a restaurant/bar concept in the area again, but that it would not be another Hooters.

A Hooters in Fayetteville, which opened last June, is doing well and will remain open, Dorsey says.

 

 

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