'Breastaurants' Boom as Other Food Franchises Struggle

The appeal for many is in the price: The average breastaurant meal costs $12.

Hooters, with more than 400 restaurants, dwarfs the competition but is clearly sagging. It has closed 35 locations in the last three years. Many former customers who used to give a hoot say the eye-popping staples that brought them into Hooters suddenly went flat.

But Hooters is fighting back, now pumping up all of its locations with a sleek new decor and expanded, healthier menus. Plus, there's a new target customer in mind: women.

It's a group the competition also is wooing. Canz said only 65 percent of its customers are men.

"It's not necessarily salads for women," Neisser said. "It's finding what a 24-year-old or 25[-year-old] would consider really fun and a cool place for them to go."

Hooters didn't want to talk on camera, but in a statement to ABC News said: "The restaurant model that others have dubbed 'breastaurants' is a moniker too shallow to define Hooters."

Shallow or not, Hooters' challengers have no qualms about embracing the term "breastaurant."

But whether it's Canz, Kilts or Peaks, all say without mouth-watering plates of food, the appetizing scenes wouldn't matter.

"We have a corporate chef that trains all of the trainers very well and we take a lot of pride in the quality of our food that we put out," Patel said.

Not surprisingly, restaurant experts aren't biting.

"It's not about the wings, it's about the breasts," said Allen Salkin, the author of an upcoming book on the history of the Food Network. "No place can serve sludge. But people aren't going there for the wings no matter how good they are. They are going to see the upper-mammalian carriage of young women."

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