Vista Awards Winner Hooters Talks Beer & Beverage Programs

We recently caught up with the Vibe Vista Awards winner for the 2024 Best Beer Program, Hooters. The Vibe Vista Awards recognize the top performers in the beverage industry through the creation, training, execution, management, and on-going positive results of beverage programs.  

Hooters' Beer Program has seen continued success by strategically partnering with its various beer suppliers and featuring their brands in all beverage menus, promotional limited-time offer windows, social media outlets, and happy hour program menus, which produced an uptick in sales for each featured brand.

Hooters is also focused on technology by implementing geo-targeting programs and utilizing the QR SmartMenu through a partnership with BeerBoard (many of which have videos customers can view to learn more about the products directly from a Hooters Girl). Hooters' partnership with BeerBoard also helps with managing inventory, which has led to an ROI increase of $40-$60 per keg. Tie-ins with sports is also important, and in 2023, the brand leaned into major league soccer to support the evolving interests of its guests. 

Hooters has also used a blended approach to server training around beverages, with classrooms and hands-on training in restaurants. The company’s learning management system (LMS) provides modules and videos Hooters Girls leverage to become well-versed on the restaurant’s beverage offerings. The program also addresses responsible alcohol service, covered both in classrooms and in training manuals.

We chatted with Bruce Skala, Hooters' Chief Marketing Officer, to find out more about their beverage program's training and promotions as well as what's trending in beverages.

hooters beverage program
(Photo: Hooters)

What’s currently trending in the beverage space and on Hooters’ menus?

Bruce Skala: Guests are looking for the opportunity to enjoy premium brands and cocktails while out at Hooters. While we carry all the popular and mainstream brands, there is a growing trend toward premiumization, especially in the tequila and bourbon segment. 

On the food side, the Hooters guests lean in to their tried-and-true favorite, the famous Hooters Wings. Our guests are following trends with enjoying their wings in a number of different ways: Smoked, Hooters Original Breaded Style, and our unique Daytona Beach style, which are our naked wings tossed in our signature Daytona Beach sauce and seared on the grill for that smokey, sweet, and spicy flavor that the Hooters' guests rave about.


What role does training play in your brand’s success with beverages?

Training is the cornerstone of delivering a consistent quality beverage experience for each Hooters guest. We not only provide detailed on-the-job training for each of our Hooters Girls, but we are able to modernize the experience by leveraging our learning management system technology platform. Here, videos and recipes are available on demand for our Hooters Girls and Managers. 

We also take advantage of the training opportunities and programs our supplier partners offer. Our strategy helps ensure we are making the cocktails to exact specifications and delivering a consistent, great-tasting drink every time.


How does tying beverage and beverage promotions to sporting events help the success of your beverage program?

There is nothing better than watching your favorite sports team in action at Hooters. We create a beverage promotional calendar that ties into brands and cocktails that accentuate the experience. Depending on the size of your group, or the mood you are in for a beverage during the game, we strive to over-deliver on options. Our beverage partners are often sponsors of the leagues and teams that our guests are coming into Hooters to watch. Building a beverage promotion that leverages the marketing assets tied to that league makes it easy for the guest to opt in to the featured drink.


Tell us more about how you promote beverages on your QR SmartMenu.

At Hooters, we try to provide our guests with easy-to-access information via QR codes in many of our stores. We utilize the QR code to bring the brands to life on our guests’ phones. Custom video content about the featured brand and how it pairs with a select food item helps our guests make an easy, informed decision after watching a video of one of our famous Hooters Girls showcasing the beverage.


What role does social media play in your beverage promotions?

Being an image-based concept, Hooters leans into social media to help drive awareness and engagement with our featured beverage promotions. Similar to the videos on our QR codes, social media is an excellent platform to utilize beverage video content to tell the story and showcase the experience and fun environment inside their local store.


What’s next for Hooters’ beverage program?

The Hooters beverage program will continue to follow the consumer trends, while delivering the basics with every experience. We are constantly reviewing new opportunities to elevate the beverage experience at Hooters. Reviewing new beverage vessels like Beer Tubes and glassware tied to a specific style of cocktails helps keep our beverage program fresh and fun.


hooters beverage program
(Photo: Hooters)

Vibe Conference 2025 will take place March 3-5, 2025 at Town & Country Resort in San Diego, California.

Contact us now to secure your program for the 2025 Vibe Conference:

Donna Bruns, Sales & Sponsorships, (for companies A-L), Email: [email protected] Phone: 936-522-6932

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