Hooters Salford opponents to petition council over ‘sexist’ new restaurant plan

Womanchester and others have branded the new restaurant plan ‘degrading’ to women.

Campaigners who are fighting to stop a Hooters coming to Salford Quays will get a chance to have their say at a licensing hearing next week.

Womanchester, a women’s rights group, alongside other individuals and groups, have previously referred to the US restaurant chain as “sexist, misogynistic and degrading”.

They will be making their voice heard come 10 June when they get a chance to present their representations against the proposals to Salford City Council at the Civic Centre in Swinton. They will be joined by Men at Work, Men Against Violence Campaign, and Male Allies Challenging Sexism alongside others.

This hearing comes after outcry from campaigners following the US chain’s application to open a branch in Salford Quays. Allowing a Hooters, famous for employing scantily-clad waitresses, is something that Womanchester, as well as their peers and Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, say would be in direct opposition to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s commitment to end sexist harassment and abuse.

Hooters wants to open in Salford

“Hooters is a sexist restaurant, which uses the objectification of women as its selling point, from its name, to the uniform, to the way it treats the female staff,” a Womanchester spokeswoman said previously. “It is an outdated brand, viewing women as objects to sell food and drink is no longer acceptable in 2022.

“Since #MeToo and the campaigns against casual misogyny and sexism, we have moved past the days when this was considered acceptable. 

“Woman’s Place UK quite rightly asks why would any city want to associate themselves with the outdated image of skimpily clad, objectified women serving a mostly male customer base. Openly sexist in its policies, this is not an acceptable working condition for the waitresses.

“Men and boys should stand with us, and many are opposing this. We are a group of women from all walks of life, of all ages, and feel very strongly on this.”

The only other Hooters in the UK is based in Nottingham, while plans to open another UK restaurant in Liverpool were met by a petition which slated the chain as ‘an archaic and chauvinistic brand’.

After an open letter was sent to both mayors of Greater Manchester and Salford, Andy Burnham and Paul Dennett both responded by stating their opposition to the application. 

Salford mayor Paul Dennett Credit: Salford Council

“The location and nature of the business cause me serious concern,” Mr Dennett said. “I therefore totally appreciate the negative reaction from the community.

“The nature of the business jars with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s gender-based violence strategy, reinforcing archaic and unwelcome attitudes towards women. Greater Manchester is home to 1.4million women and girls and we will continue to champion progress towards gender equality. 

“Hooters would be a regressive step for Salford and Greater Manchester. In Salford we have just launched a vision for Salford Quays in 2030 and a key strand of this is that the Quays is a place that welcomes everyone, a place that puts people at the centre of how it is perceived and operates in practice. 

“A Hooters bar does not fit in with this vision.”

What has Hooters said?

In a previous statement, a spokesman for Hooters said: “For nearly four decades, Hooters restaurants have built a reputation around the world for offering great times for everyone. From iconic food and beverages such as wings, burgers, seafood, beers and cocktails to world-famous Hooters Girls and our Heart of House employees who create a one-of-a-kind guest experience, Hooters is the ideal place for guests to cheer on their favourite sports teams or celebrate any occasion with friends or family.

“Just as importantly, we are part of the fabric of communities with initiatives to raise funds for breast cancer and programs to honour local heroes including the military. We are pleased to bring our restaurant concept to the people of Salford Quays and trust the community will experience our hospitality for themselves.”