I mentioned a while ago that there were plans for a bunch of us expats to go to Hooters. It was SJ’s idea of a birthday celebration for AL, who was in town for a few weeks for the intended Phase 2 launch. (Incidentally, I’m pretty sure SJ told us she had never been to a Hooters restaurant at all.)
Hooters Beijing is not far from Seasons Park, and since the weather was decent I decided to walk. The sky looked a little threatening so I took my umbrella just in case. As it turned out, I was the first one there. I told them I needed a table for nine, and they put me at a table by the back door. One of their little things is that whenever someone comes in, all the staff yells, “Welcome to Hooters!” Being next to the door, we were right in the thick of this.
BG and SJ showed up next with a cake in a box. A waitress asked whose birthday it was, and they went off to arrange things. KW was next, and the others trickled in. When AL arrived, the waitress came over with a balloon and tied it to his sweatshirt.
We got on with our business of eating and drinking. KW and I both ordered a Southwest Chicken Salad. The waitress never asked us what kind of dressing we wanted. At first I thought nothing of it – maybe it has a set dressing rather than a choice – but a little after the food arrived I realized there was no dressing on it at all. It took a while to flag her down and convey to her what we wanted, but we eventually got our dressing.
A couple of times during the evening, the staff got together and did a short dance routine. Next to the door, we got pretty used to the “Welcome to Hooters!” greeting, and eventually started joining in. By the end of the evening, the staff’s performance had diminished, and we found ourselves greeting guests on our own.
When we finished eating, they brought out the cake and it was time for the Hooters Beijing version of a birthday song.
They had AL stand up on his chair holding a menu in each hand. We sang a silly tune, something like, “It’s your birthday! It’s your birthday!” At the pauses in our singing, the birthday boy was supposed to flap the menus like wings and shout, “It’s my birthday!”
Or something like that. Eventually we got to eat the thing. Shengri dangao!
SJ has a hilarious movie of the birthday dance that she has been threatening to post on YouTube. I’ll post a link to it if she ever does.
When we left, JW couldn’t resist the merchandise and picked up some Hooters Beijing shot glasses.
There has been a Hooters in Shanghai for several years now, and my friend there told me an amusing story. She worked for a company that was part-owned by an Australian guy, and one time, he took some of the employees to Hooters. She said there were lots of foreigners there, and wondered why the restaurant was named after a bird. I explained the American slang meaning of “hooters” and she said, “Oh, I see. Maybe that’s why he took us there.”
Just as we left the restaurant, it started sprinkling. The others decided to go bowling, but I wasn’t feeling very well and headed for home. By the time I got there it was pouring and I was soaked through – cheap Chinese umbrella!