Physical appearance for women has become a debated part of the
hiring process for such bars, nightclubs and restaurants as
Hooters, Club Osirus and the Avenue.
Jason Hanson, general manager for Hooters Restaurant, said he
hires solely women waitresses, a practice protected by the BFOQ
(Bona Fide Occupational Qualification). This allows Hooters to hire
one sex over the other because of the nature of the particular
Hanson said when hiring, he looks for outgoing, witty
“They have to be able to talk to a blue collar worker or a city
council member,” he said.
He also said looks do matter in this line of business. Hooters
looks for women with an athletic, cheerleader-like appearance. When
working, the women must wear their hair down at all times, and wear
“They are always ready for a photo shoot,” Hanson said. “We tell
them to come in as if they’re going out on a Friday night on the
Jennifer Loomis, a sophomore Spanish major, is a former employee
of the Hooters Restaurant in Fort Collins. She remembers her
employee manual stating the business looked for an all-American
girl, or “girl next door” appearance. It wasn’t primarily about
chest size, she said.
“They’re looking for an all-over good appearance,” she said.
Loomis said her interview contained many “case scenario”
questions, such as how comfortable she felt with men hitting on
her. She was not asked about level of education, and stated some
employees were still in high school.
Loomis also recalls the dress code being very strict, down to
the types of nylons worn. Hooters waitresses are required to wear
thicker, “suntan”-colored nylons, which they purchase for three
dollars a pair through Hooters.
Loomis said the company was strict on hair and make-up as
“One day my manager pulled me aside and told me I wasn’t wearing
enough make-up,” she said, “so I had to put on more.”
Heidi Lacy, a junior human development and family studies major,
said she personally wouldn’t consider working at Hooters.
“Personally, I think I’d feel degraded,” she said. “My parents
would be pissed, too. They’d say there are plenty of other jobs
around town that would be better for a single female.”
Loomis said her parents were supportive of her decision to work
“It’s not like guys touch you. I mean, you get hit on a lot, but
if you’re a respectable person, you can deal with it,” she said.
“You have to deal with every table hitting on you, and that gets
Lacy also stated she does understand the reasons behind Hooters
“It makes sense to hire cute girls. That’s why people go there,”
Club Osirus also hires partly on physical appearance, according
to owner Jeff Holder.
“There’s definitely a certain look we’re looking for,” Holder
Osirus has four cages around the dance floor, in which girls are
hired to dance. The club also has several female bartenders and
All females hired are required to have their midriff exposed
while working. Unlike Hooters, they are not required to wear
make-up or wear their hair down, but do have to look
Holder said applicants not only have to have experience in their
field, but also have to be attractive. Cocktail waitresses must
have cocktail experience, and bartenders must have one to two
Dancers are sub-contracted out, and are referred to a head
dancer. According to Holder, try-outs for new dancers are held
every three weeks to a month.
“They have to look the part and have got to be able to dance,”
When women are hired, they are expected to keep their physical
build, Holder said.
According to Loomis, managers would not meet with walk-in
applicants right away.
Loomis said employees were expected to keep their basic physical
appearance. For example, she said, if a woman were to become
pregnant, she was allowed to work for a few months, but couldn’t
work while showing. Employees could then return after the
“If they pick up weight, we’ll tell them it needs to change. You
try to anticipate that not happening,” Holder said.
If a woman were to become pregnant, however, he said women would
not be discouraged to work. However, he said he would talk with the
employee, mainly considering smokers in the club and their effect
on the baby. Still, it would ultimately be her choice to
“Pregnant women are sexy sometimes,” he said.
While looks are part of these businesses’ hiring process, the
Avenue, a local bar and restaurant, hires solely based on a resume
and personality, according to Derek Sayegusa, floor manager and
“If you want a good solid staff appearance won’t give you the
strong staff you need to survive in this business,” Sayegusa
The Avenue looks at an applicants resume for previous
experience, Sayegusa said. Cocktailing experience is helpful,
especially for females, due to the harassment, which can be a part
of the job, he said.
“We talk to girls about harassment, and see if they’re willing
to put up with it,” he said.
Sayegusa said in the interview, the business looks for a strong
personality, ability to respond quickly and ability to give 110
Those hired are then given a 90-day probation period to see how
they perform on the job. This is followed by an evaluation to
determine whether or not the employee stays.
The dress code at the Avenue differs from Osirus. Men and women
wear all black, and are expected to look classy. Sayegusa stated
the Avenue does not allow anything scandalous.
“We’re not looking for low cut shirts and short skirts,” he
Women are not hired over men at the Avenue.
“I think it’s very discriminatory,” Sayegusa said.
Holder said people have suggested having male dancers at Osirus
as well as female dancers. Eventually, he said they might consider
having it for certain nights. The club did not originally hire male
dancers because, according to Holder, he and the other owner, being
males, were more partial to hiring females.
Loomis recalls Hooters promoting a fun atmosphere with witty,
outgoing employees. The women created their own “character,” and
Loomis said most of the time being sarcastic yet playful was
incorporated into their mannerisms.
According to Holder, cocktail waitresses and bartenders are
expected to have a good personality. A cocktail waitress must be a
people person, and be able to “fake it if people are being rude,”
unless a particular circumstance makes her uncomfortable.
The dancers however, are not hired for their personality.
“Dancers’ personality doesn’t matter, as long as they can
dance,” Holder said.
According to Hanson, looks and personality go hand in hand when
waitressing at Hooters.
“The better they feel, the more outgoing they become,” he