Undercover Boss: don’t tell me Hooters have never heard of market research

I watched the US version of Undercover Boss on C4 last night.  It was the turn of Coby Brooks, President and CEO of ‘delightfully tacky yet unrefined’ restaurant/bar chain Hooters to go undercover in his own business. 

Never heard of Hooters?  If I tell you that they’re big on cold beer, fried chicken and pretty girls in very short shorts and that their logo features an owl with a set of boobs for eyes, I’m sure you’ll get the idea.

Following his week of scrubbing dishes and waiting tables, Coby (who is responsible for 455 Hooters branches in the US) suddenly realised that a) many women don’t frequent Hooters because b) they don’t like what they think Hooters stands for.

I refuse to believe that a brand of that size has spent nothing at all on market research in the last few years.  Surely even the simplest omnibus or a few focus groups would let the CEO know that some women thought their brand was degrading to women.  But no, it took him going out sampling chicken wings on the street with a couple of Hooters girls for the penny (cent?) to drop.

Which is why you have to wonder whether the brand (including the CEO) was perfectly aware that they had an image problem and the boss played dumb undercover to help get their point across via an hour of free airtime.

One thought on “Undercover Boss: don’t tell me Hooters have never heard of market research

  1. I doubt that is the case, I think this just the difference between UK and US TV programmes. Even though this is a British show the format has been changed for the US audience and therefore a lot of what you see has to be taken with a pinch of salt, as more often than not what you are seeing has been scripted by the producer.

    A lot of the so called US docu-soap series that have come from popular UK series (Super Nanny, Wife Swap) have a disclaimer at the beginning stating that some scenes are not real and are made up for entertainment purposes.

    So where you wonder how could they not know something so essential to their business, its more a case that for ‘viewing pleasure’ they made up the scene.

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