Hooters clarifies uniform policy after servers’ outcry over controversial new shorts

A change in the Hooters uniform in some locations has prompted a handful of servers in the restaurant chain to post their concerns on TikTok.
In the videos that have garnered millions of views since first appearing on the platform last week, Hooters servers hold up the new black shorts as they share their thoughts. Some even describe the shorts as "like underwear".
A server who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of being fired said that when she and others were briefed on the new uniform last week, some liked the change while others were less pleased.
"The girls with more meat on their bones, it just rides up," said the waiter. "You have a wedgie all the time."
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The videos have reignited criticism of Hooters for promoting an outdated concept that focuses on sexualizing the bodies of servers.
Many of the servers who have shared their experience on TikTok said they will continue to work for the company, which means they will be wearing the new shorts. However, the TikTok videos that got the most views were the ones that featured women apparently joking that they'd rather quit than resort to the new outfit.
The TikTok video of the Hooters employee joking she's going to quit saying the new shorts are "like underwear" had more than 1.3 million likes and 14.8 million views on Thursday.
Another video posted by user @ggnguyen has more than 3 million likes and has been viewed more than 16.8 million times. She has given the video a title: "What should that fit?!?"
Several Hooters servers who posted on TikTok about the new shorts declined to comment on the files for fear of risking their jobs. But their videos remain public on TikTok and continue to garner more views.
Hooters locations are operated by one of two companies: Hooters of America and The Original Hooters Group. And not all Hooters locations update uniforms.
Hooters of America, LLC, operates more than 420 Hooters restaurants in 42 states and 29 countries, according to its website. The Original Hooters Group - with a total of 25 locations in Chicago, New York and Tampa Bay, Florida - has almost identical branding, but operates separately from Hooters of America.
Hooters of America rolled out the shorter shorts at its Texas locations before distributing them to a wider range of locations. However, locations operating under the original Hooters franchise still require servers to wear longer shorts for more coverage.
A representative from the Original Hooters Group said their locations will continue to wear the same uniforms that servers have been wearing for decades.
"The 'Original' Hooters restaurants in Tampa Bay, Chicagoland and Manhattan ... will not change their iconic uniform of orange shorts and white uniform tops that made the brand famous around the world," the spokesman said in an email statement.
Hooters of America said it appreciated feedback "both positive and negative, regarding a more accommodating and inclusive image policy for tattoos, jewelry, nails, hairstyles and new uniforms - including new top styles, shorts and the addition of socks".
"The new uniforms are the result of a collaboration with Hooters Girls," Hooters of America said in its email statement. "These uniforms have been worn in several Texas markets for months and have received overwhelmingly positive reviews from both Hooters Girls and customers."
In an updated statement posted on NBC News Saturday, Hooters of America said that Hooters servers would have a choice of wearing either their classic uniforms or the new one.
"You can determine which style of shorts best suits your body style and personal image," the statement said.
The statement went on to say that the “Hooters Girls” are the company's “most valuable asset” and that they continue to work to empower the women who work for them.
“We are pleased to see a national trend towards self-expression and inclusivity that bodes well for our market. We are continuously working with our Hooters Girls to refresh and update our brand ambassadors' image and enable them to feel their best at work during their stay, ”the statement reads.
Uniforms have long been a contentious issue for Hooters and were once the center of litigation against the company.
In 2010, the restaurant chain was sued in a class action lawsuit over uniforms, working hours, and pay for approximately 400 current and former employees in the Sacramento area. The lawsuit was settled after the restaurant agreed to relax uniforms, among other things, according to NBC News subsidiary KCRA3.
Hooters said it plans to work with staff to make sure the uniforms are "comfortable while reflecting the current style."
The server who spoke to NBC said the shorts weren't a problem for her. However, she understands that the shorter shorts may be uncomfortable for other women.
When they first launched in multiple Texas locations, the shorts appear to have been well received, the server said. However, as the new uniform has gotten to more places in the U.S., it appears to be less popular, she said.
“One of the girls said, 'Oh yeah, they're super cute. I love her ’" said the server. “And the other girls said, 'This is way too short. My private ones hang around. ‘"
This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

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