Breastaurant: A term coined in the early 1990's when Hooters first became popular. You all have heard of them; Twin Peaks, Tilted Kilt, Hooters. It's a fun atmosphere with beautiful girls and good food. The businesses are growing year by year because come on, who wouldn't go to a restaurant with sexy girls? But, is working there worth it?
I know what you're probably thinking. The girls that work there have no morals, are slutty, not smart, and going nowhere in life.
That's not right at all.
I went into my first "breastaurant" looking for a job during the fall semester of my sophomore year of college. I was greeted by three very peppy girls working the hostess stand. They handed me an application and told me a manager would be over soon.
The manager picked up my application and came back a few short minutes later, followed by another female server. They plopped a box of clothing items on the table, picked through to find my size, and had me go try it on.
I must admit, I felt so confident and cute. It was an honor being able to try on that uniform.
I went back to the main dining hall to meet the manager. He had written my name on a whiteboard and had me hold it in front of myself and proceeded to take pictures of me from the front, side, and back. "These are going to be sent to corporate, they have to make sure you fit the image." I thought nothing of it.
Two days later, I was called back in the restaurant, offered a position, and I happily accepted.
Little did I know, it would be some of the most miserable months of my life.
The new fellow hires, a manager, and myself sat down in a corner booth to go over the contract. It stated how the managers are allowed to rate us based on our physical appearance (makeup, jewelry, costume, shoes, hair, and muscle tone). We must have our nails done, wear a glitzy belt, knee-high socks, hair and makeup glammed up.
Again, I thought nothing of it.
After a short while, I really did love my job. But, I noticed some things were off with the atmosphere. The restaurant is primarily men (go figure) and they would be shocked when we would discuss my major of bioengineering and minor of computer science.
"But you're smart, why are you working here?" I was slightly offended.
Through my time there, I made a good amount of money. But the hours did not cooperate with my school schedule. I wouldn't get home until 2:00 a.m. and would have a 7:30 a.m. class the next morning; management didn't care.
A few months went on and I felt more and more uncomfortable. I would have customers comment on my butt, my boobs, ask for my number or leave their number, try to get me to go out to bars after work when I'm not even of legal age for drinking.
There were favorite girls that worked there, and they were the highest ranked. See, we had a ranking system. You would get ranked on the items that I said before; hair, makeup, costume, jewelry, muscle tone, oh, and your PPA, or how much you would sell per person.
See, the managers didn't care about how caring, helpful, or respectful you were. They cared about the money you would bring into the restaurant.
They cared about the image.
If you had your hair in a bun, you would get points off. Belt with missing rhinestones means points off. Slightly too short of boots, you'd be told to buy a new pair before your next shift, and get points off.
Before I knew it, my tone score had gone down. I was appalled. I had not gained or lost weight since I started working there; especially since we are required to eat off a designated "spa" menu at the restaurant which had low-calorie entrees.
I had a meeting with the manager a few days after my tone had gone down and I asked why it was so. He told me I "gained too much weight in my lower half and lost my tone" and that if I "started to work out again, maybe my score would go up."
Breastaurants do not care about your performance, they care about your appearance.
The next morning, I turned in my two weeks, hugged some of the managers and girls goodbye, and left. A week later, I picked up my last paycheck. Months later, rumors spread that I stormed out on my shift, yell, swore, and bashed the company; all false.
Breastaurants may work perfectly for some individuals; I don't doubt that. But it sure did not work for me. I saw beyond the masks and sweet faces that the managers introduce you to. I saw how they do not care about your well-being. They turn the girls into people who always think they're overweight, or not skinny enough, or that they need to run miles a day and only eat salads to meet the image. False. Strong is beautiful and healthy.
I made an amazing amount of money and do not regret my time there at all (well, I don't regret all of it).
There are some horrible truths to this kind of business. They find loopholes that allow managers to ridicule and discriminate against you. You are held to a certain appearance and are punished if you break it. You are told to flirt and be sweet and sexy with the customers, managers do not see most sexual harassment as harassment; they see it as harmless flirting and flat out tell you to "deal with it."
This business is not morally right, but it sure is a successful one.