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'Cannot Stop Crying': Hooters Employees Shocked After Dozens of Restaurants Suddenly Close Without Warning The chain is the latest fast-casual restaurant to face difficult decisions amid inflation.

By Emily Rella Edited by Melissa Malamut

Key Takeaways

  • Fast-casual chain Hooters announced Monday that it is shuttering dozens of locations across the country.
  • In tearful videos and posts, some employees are claiming on social media that they did not receive a warning.
  • Hooters cited "current market conditions" as the reason for the decision.

Inflation and increasing supply chain prices continue to threaten the fast-casual restaurant industry.

Hooters announced on Monday that it is shutting down dozens of underperforming restaurants around the country, per Nation's Restaurant News.

"Like many restaurants under pressure from current market conditions, Hooters has made the difficult decision to close a select number of underperforming stores," the chain confirmed in a statement to the outlet. "Ensuring the well-being of our staff is our priority in these rare instances … We look forward to continuing to serve our guests at home, on the go and at our restaurants here in the U.S. and around the globe."

Related: Olive Garden Is Planning to Increase Prices at a 'More Consistent' Rate Due to Inflation

It's estimated that about 40 restaurant locations, from Missouri to Kansas to Texas in the U.S. have already been shut down as a result of the decision.

The chain also told NRN that it is still focusing on growth and opening new locations domestically and internationally and is also launching new Hooter's frozen foods in grocery stores around the country.

Now former employees have taken to social media and local outlets to air their grievances about showing up to work and finding out they were out of a job.

"They didn't let us stay or anything or even say goodbye. Usually when you are an employee, you give two weeks' notice before you leave. So, I think it was a bit ridiculous not to even give us a week," former employee Kate Booker at the Witchita Falls, Texas told local outlet News 6 after finding out she was no longer employed this past Sunday. "That was definitely a shock. I got home and I was like I don't know what to do anymore because we relied on the money."

Others shared videos to TikTok of employees crying and in disarray, after discovering they were being let go.

@ufw.nicolee cannot stop crying i love my hooters girls forever #hooters #foryou #someonehireme ♬ always remember you - Abbi Sutphen

@dajharainey literally laugh to keep from crying ? #unemployed #unexpected #viralvideo #fyp #hooterstok #charlottenc ♬ original sound - Jayne Claire

@shani.ray Went for a "staff meeting" just to find out they closed our store forever ? #hooters ♬ always remember you - Abbi Sutphen

"Went for a 'staff meeting' just to find out they closed our store forever," one former employee from Missouri captioned her clip alongside a notice posted to the restaurant's front door indicating that the restaurant had been shut down.

"Cannot stop crying," another said in a clip that's been viewed over 1.7 million times. "It was very unexpected a heads up would've been nice."

Other fast-casual chains have recently closed locations or announced price increases. Red Lobster abruptly began shuttering locations and auctioning off equipment last month before ultimately filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Olive Garden is slowly raising prices throughout the rest of the year as a result of changing market conditions.

Related: Kevin O'Leary: Inflation Is Responsible for Restaurant Closures

"Consumers are generally concerned about inflation and they're becoming more concerned about the job market. And what we're seeing are some behavior shifts that we had already started to see," Olive Garden's parent company Darden Restaurants CEO Rick Cardenas told investors on an earnings call last week. "We've underpriced a lot, and that gives us some flexibility."

According to data cited by Technomic Ignite, Hooters was operating 293 restaurants at the end of 2023, which was down 1.3% from the same time the year prior and 12% down from the same time five years before.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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