Note: This post contains stories of sexual harassment and assault.
1. The "regular" who literally pretended to be blind.
"A regular would have his favorite girl, come in at the start of your shift, and leave at the end, and they made up 70% of my tips probably. Lots of phone numbers and gifts, but honestly not a whole lot more than I received working at a neighborhood bar. I quit one day finally when a customer pretended to be blind, (dark sunglasses, feeling the edge of the tables to get around) and asked me to sit beside him and read him a menu. Not that strange of a request, until he put 100 bucks down my shirt and attempted to feel my boobs inside my shirt. Told a manager, who said it was my fault, transferred the table, and I quit at the end of my shift."
2. The mandatory "appearance" inspections.
"We had 'line up' 15 minutes before we opened where a manager inspected our 'appearance' and called us out if we had any flaws with our makeup, hair, or uniform. The uniforms are cheap, get easily dirty, and we were forced to buy new shirts/shorts/stockings if we had any viable stains or holes. I spent SO much money on fucking uniforms at that job — it's insane."
4. The "theme night" that turned out to be a nightmare night.
"It [ was a] theme night; this one was for Marines. What. The. FUCK. I was pinched, patted, manhandled, pulled onto laps, and called a tease or worse if I didn't go along with it. My opinion of the Corps changed a LOT that night."
6. The not-so-subtle gift from a customer.
"There's plenty of nice guys, but the environment tends to attract a lot more guys who will try to constantly hit on you. Some can be rude, others can be charming, and the rest can be creepy. For instance, I remember one of the girls at my location was given a room key to some sleazy hotel while another was brought a bouquet of roses."
7. The awful treatment from a manager.
"The uniform looked fucking terrible on me, so I was treated sooooo poorly. I never wanted to be a part of the swimsuit contests; I never wanted to be in a calendar; this job wasn't a platform for me to model...like for real, 100% just making tips working at a restaurant.
One location actually stopped giving me shifts, and the last location took me off the schedule when corporate heads were going to be in town.
It's been a while since I worked there, but it really did a number on my self-esteem. I am finally starting to regain confidence in my appearance again."
9. The straight-out-of-a-horror-movie creep. (Story from a customer about an employee's experience.)
"I am a dude, and I witnessed this at a Hooters last night. We (just me and my buddy) sit down at a high top, and there is a younger guy alone at the table next to us. It wasn't very crowded. At one point I overhear the waitress saying, 'I can't go outside.' Apparently he was asking if she would walk him to his car and give him a kiss. She told us the whole story of this guy.
He drives an hour about every two or three days to come to that specific Hooters to see her. Has left his number multiple times and obviously hasn't gotten the picture. He leaves and we go on with our meal. About 20–30 minutes later, the waitress walks by our table and says, 'He's back.' The dude walked in and used the restroom and walked back out to his car. Gets back in his car and drives slowly by looking in.
At this point, we thought he left, and about 10 minutes later we (my friend and I) walk out, and the dude is sitting out there in the car waiting for her shift to end. I went back in and told the manager to make sure the waitress wasn't followed by him."
10. The customer who got too handsy...and kissy.
"I was serving a man who was there by himself (very common) and had been at one of my tables for about four hours (also pretty common). He asked if he could give me a shoulder massage. Another Hooters Girl had already let him give her one, and since I was his actual server, I figured hey, I should probably let him too because, let's be honest, you work for your tips. So I'm standing in front of this man with my back to him, and he's massaging my shoulders; it actually feels pretty good...when WAIT A MINUTE. Dude starts kissing my neck from behind. Like what the fuck. Romantically. I of course stepped away, and he left soon after, with a $75 tip or something like that left behind, but I still obviously felt violated. This is just one example of when a customer got too touchy — and it was always very frustrating when people somehow felt like they had the right to do things like that."
11. The customer with a bag of prescription drugs and lots of baggage.
"I worked at Hooters for a little bit. On one of my rare day shifts there was a man that came in, looked a little messy, and asked to be seated with the hottest girl. It was just me and the hostess up there, so I told him to look around and pick one. He chose me. I tried to get out of it, but he insisted. I sat him down, and while [I took] his drink order, he pulled out a gallon-sized Ziploc bag of prescriptions and started taking a few out. I walked away from him to get his drink and came back and set it down. He told me to sit down with him, then continued to talk about how great I looked walking away from him. Then continued about how my ass was perfect and what he'd do to it and how he'd like to see it naked and so on. I got up and went to my GM and told him about what happened, he told him to leave, and the guy left me a dollar."
12. The far less than gentlemanly "gentleman."
"I have many stories from my year spent wearing those God awful orange shorts, but my favorite by far is the older 'gentleman' who in dead seriousness grabbed my wrist and asked, 'How much do you sell your pussy for?' He's a close second to the guy who left me a note along with his phone number that said, 'I'd really like to feel you from the inside.'
13. The businessman who had no business acting like this. (Story from a customer about an employee's experience.)
"I went to a Hooters with a bunch of business guys from different companies, and this one dude sees the waitress putting on lipstick and says, 'Just like a whore' in this kind of repressed, hateful, I have duct tape and a van kind of voice.
We are all like, 'WTF, dude. You need to leave.' Every one of the rest of us apologized and gave her $20. It was a bizarre deal."
14. The literal online stalkers:
"There were also the guys who would SOMEHOW find me on Facebook, even though I lived in a different city than the one I worked in, and my profile had no mentions of Hooters. They only knew my first name, which is a fairly common one, so they must have done some hard searching, which is uncomfortable."
15. This overall bad experience that includes everything and the kitchen sink.
"I would have men who think that you're flirting with them, wives that get mad because they think that you're flirting with them, teenagers who think it's cool to cop a feel, and a manager who would put us through really long, super-invasive inspections every day."
16. And finally, the actually nice regulars.
"Actual retired Hooters Girl here! I pretty much enjoyed most of my time working there. I don't have any terribly awful or even terribly exciting stories to share, but what sticks me the most are the handful of 'regulars.' Old, single men who dined with us every single day, day in and day out. We were their friends, and we were their family, and they were paying us to be that. It was heartbreaking, and I really did like and enjoy the company of the majority of them. It was hard to say goodbye!"
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.