Bikini Barista Backlash: Scantily-Clad Coffee Servers Stir Up Controversy

In Spokane, Wash., moms are on a mission to get lingerie-wearing coffee baristas to cover-up.
3:00 | 05/08/14

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Transcript for Bikini Barista Backlash: Scantily-Clad Coffee Servers Stir Up Controversy
As coffee stand pop up on almost every corner, the competition can heat up. One way to add an extra kick to the caffeine, have your baristas wear next to nothing giving new meaning to a tall skinny latte. With fewer clothes comes much greater scrutiny. Not surprisingly, controversy. Here is ABC's Neil Karlinsky. Reporter: In Spokane, Washington there are two kind of coffee hot, and, well -- choose your cliche. Sizzling, whatever. This is where soft porn meets soy lattes. What are you selling here, exactly? Coffee. Reporter: Just coffee. Coffee. And some booby action some times. Talking to a barista with stickers, or pasties that cover part of her may seem weird. Until you realize this is the land of the so-called bikini baristas. You can't be shy. Wearing what I wear. Reporter: Like it or not. A shrewd business move. Drive-through coffee stand may not look like much. But they can be very profitable. Last year men between 18 and 54 spent $7 billion buying scoff fee from drive-throughs, up more than 8% from 2012. Add in sex appeal, and fair beans, big shots, and devil's brew and you have the marketing sizzle. Starbuck's can't or won't touch. You ever feel creeped out, guys are coming here and oogling. They never make it seem that way. Once in a while you get a creepy one that says weird stuff. It doesn't happen that much. To say not everyone is thrilled with half naked twenty somethings selling coffee is an understatement. Good to tell people. You cannot just avoid it. Sound nice in theory. You can't just drive down other streets. These are on all the most main your streets in Spokane. Reporter: Meet two moms in a growing army that is trying to change Spokane's indecent expope sure laws to force bikini baristas to get dressed. Kimberly says it all started during a simple drive through town with her family. My daughter just said, mommy, look there is a lady without a shirt on. And I was like, what? Then we all turned our heads. And at that point, my, my 3, 5 and 7-year-olds were exposed to something that I would never have wanted them to see. Reporter: That was enough for the mothers to mobilize. We caught up with them, petitions in hand during their first door knocking session. While they worked the playground. Together the 10,000 signatures it could take to put the issue on a city wide bal elt in novemb -- bal ballet in November. Outside Seattle the mom's worst fears came true. A police sting, revealed women baring all for extra cash. Similar activity at stabbed in the area led to a new law just this year. Restricting the use of pasties and tape instead of bikinis. This is our city. And we should have the right to choose what we will or what we will not allow. Reporter: The moms say they're determined to force a crackdown to make knowing exposure of body parts in a public place without full or opaque covering, unlawful. In Oregon, the bikini barista boss there, voluntarily backed down. I have done this to reduce tension, and without restrictions on my entire business plan just according to a small group's belief on morality. Reporter: If you wonder who would have the chutzpah to put women up to this kind of thing in the first place you. Are probably not imagining a mother of three who admits she could never do this? But owner Sarah Burnell its not worried about a change in the law. You have to pass laws that apply to everybody. If they're going to tell the girls to cover up more. They're going to tell everybody to cover up more. It is not going to sit well. Reporter: Who else? Who its everybody? People at the beach. You, me. People walking down the road. She owns three stands and says the business model is as simple as you imagine. Sex sells including coffee. Putting these coffee stand on a level Normal ones can't touch. Makes more money. That big of a difference. That big. Huge. Like 50% more? Close to 100% more. Reporter: Have you ever had anyone hassle you when you came to work? One family came and said my family should be ashamed to have me as a daughter. Because I am dressed look this. Reporter: What's the line for you as to how much they should show? Whatever is legal. But any kind of provocative behavior is not okay. Reporter: If there was ever an issue to invoke America over a bare-chested american, this is a parentally it. Take away people's freedoms. Once you start doing that. What they can and can't wear. A constitutional issue right there. These girls are not pretty, they make good cup of coffee, they're friendly, good for them. They have a bed that can do that. And I think a lot of women are insecure about that. Reporter: If there is one thing that baristas have plenty of. Loyal customers, rushing to their defense. I've gone to different stand. Once I started going to this stand the I didn't go to an other stand. They get all my business. Reporter: Meanwhile between the bikini baristas, there is a new front. Chest in the campaign. Former male stripper, Chris Mullens opened the town's first topless men's coffee stand. What are you doing? You know? Obviously we are not going to show off anything nude. Everybody will raise a stink about the bikini stand. Well, you know, being that I was a stripper at one point, this should be kind of fun. He is scouting for locations to open a second stand. So far his business which sells coffee and hot dogs hasn't quite taken off the way the lady have. You seem disappointed no one has complained about it. I kind of hoped to raise a little eyebrow. Reporter: The moms insist it is no double standard. Shirtless men are publicly acceptable. They're fine with bikinis, too, they say just not the more provocative stuff. I think allowing anything like this is just the tipping point. It is just going to keep escalating where it is all over. It is accessible. I want to go to the beach and petition. I see half naked people and freak out. The same thing. Just ridiculous. Reporter: Forget what tastes better. Tonight the coffee war being fought from here to Los Angeles is over it. I'm Neil Karlinsky for "Nightline."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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