The "Breastaurant" Business Is Booming (Sort of)

Moneybox
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June 25 2012 1:38 PM

The "Breastaurant" Business Is Booming (Sort of)

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The Associated Press reported over the weekend that the "breastaurant" segment of the food service industry is booming. What's a "breastaurant"? Well, loosely speaking, it's like Hooters. Except the news AP reported was actually that Hooters is losing ground to competitors: "The nation's top three 'breastaurant' chains behind Hooters each had sales growth of 30 percent or more last year, according to Technomic, a food industry research firm."

Hooters itself seems to be struggling, so we don't really know how the segment as a whole is doing.

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What we do know is that the industry structure is shifting to one less dominated by a single firm. And, as ever, that kind of shift has implications for vendors and other complementary firms. For example, there turns out to be such a thing as BreastaurantUniforms.com, which wants to supply your restaurant's staff with attire. In a marketplace monopolized by Hooters, there obviously isn't much of a market for this sort of service. You're basically just talking about commodity apparel makers negotiating with a centralized purchasing office. But smaller firms are much more likely to be willing to pay a modest premium to a firm that specializes in providing services to the niche.

UPDATE: Frustratingly, the AP didn't say what the three chains were, and the Technomic report is proprietary. As best I can tell, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt are the other market leaders in this category, but I don't know what the third is or exactly how Technomic defines the segment.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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