Hooters to open restaurant near base in Germany
June 19, 2005
RAMSTEIN, Germany — Say “auf Wiedersehen” to the image of the frumpy German barmaid with meaty fists serving beers you can barely pronounce.
And get ready to say “How ya doing?” to scores of women in low-cut tank tops and tight, orange shorts delivering mugs of ice-cold Budweiser.
Hooters, the quintessential American beer and Buffalo wing restaurant best-known for its nubile and buxom waitresses, is coming to Ramstein. The Atlanta-based chain is scheduled to open its first franchise in Germany in September.
The Ramstein location will be one of six franchises the chain plans to open in southwest Germany in the next five years, said Michael Rennig of Innovative Marketing Services, a German marketing firm involved in the Hooters launch.
Ramstein was chosen as the first German location because of its large American population, Rennig said. Roughly 53,000 Americans live within the Kaiserslautern military community, which includes Ramstein.
“It’s the best place to start,” Rennig said. “A lot of people here know the concept.”
The concept of babes, beer and bar food is neither complicated nor difficult to digest. It has resulted in success for the chain’s 390-plus worldwide locations that began with its first restaurant in Clearwater, Fla., in 1983.
Army Capt. Brendon Saguil with the 29th Support Group said he would definitely go to the Ramstein Hooters when it opens.
“I’m from Florida, so I grew up where there was a Hooters pretty much on every block,” said the 26-year-old.
“It’s one of those places where you know the menu. You can walk in, get what you want and watch the race on Sunday.”
The two-story restaurant with outdoor seating will have a variety of American beers and 17 big-screen TVs broadcasting American sports. The menu will be the exact same as at a stateside Hooters. While the chicken wings will be bought locally, the Buffalo wing sauce will be shipped from the States. The restaurant will accept U.S. dollars, Rennig said.
For the first eight weeks after it opens, eight Hooters girls from the States will be working at the Ramstein location to get it up and running.
The restaurant will be open 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily. “If they start to party, they will have a long party,” Rennig said.
Organizers are planning a grand-opening celebration that could last three days when the restaurant opens. “The only thing we can’t arrange is the Florida sunshine,” Rennig said.
In general, Americans told Stars and Stripes that Hooters would likely be a success among both Americans and Germans.
“I think it will get a lot of business,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Fabela, 25, with the 435th Security Forces Squadron elite guard. “There will be a lot of people getting second jobs there.”
Fabela’s wife, Airman 1st Class Sarah Fabela, 22, said she would not mind working at Hooters.
“You’d probably get a lot of good tips,” she said.
Stateside chain restaurants have proved popular with Americans in the Kaiserslautern area. The Chili’s restaurant on Ramstein Air Base has nearly always had a waiting list for a table since it opened last year.
“People coming from the States like to go to the restaurants they already know,” Saguil said. “This will be good for the people who are afraid to try German food.”
Hooters has locations in Graz, Austria; Vienna, Austria; Interlaken, Switzerland; Zagreb, Croatia; and Nottingham, England.
The Ramstein Hooters is seeking applications from American women. To apply, e-mail your résumé.