Twin Peaks Waco shootout: Breastaurants and sports bars are still growing fast in America.

Twin Peaks, Site of Waco Shootout, Was America’s Fastest-Growing Restaurant in 2013

Twin Peaks, Site of Waco Shootout, Was America’s Fastest-Growing Restaurant in 2013

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
May 18 2015 4:20 PM

Twin Peaks, Site of the Deadly Biker Shootout, Was America’s Fastest-Growing Restaurant Chain in 2013

Among the many surreal, horrifying particulars of the deadly biker shootout that occurred this weekend in Waco, Texas, one of the more grabbing details was the name of the restaurant around which the incident took place: Twin Peaks. Which may have left you wondering: Twin Peaks? Like the David Lynch series Twin Peaks

In fact, Twin Peaks is part of a class of establishments not so poetically termed “breastaurants.” And while the New York Times reports that local authorities have been fed up with this particular Twin Peaks franchise, which has hosted motorcycle gang meetings in the past and has now had its liquor license suspended, the company itself is booming. True to its déclassé name, the chain aims to be a more seductive—and more upscale—version of Hooters. As its chief executive Randy Dewitt famously told Bloomberg Business last fall, “Hooters just wasn’t racy enough.” In 2013, Twin Peaks did $165 million in sales to snag the title of fastest-growing restaurant chain in America. It has about 70 locations in the U.S., plus one overseas in Russia. In 2014, its sales climbed a whopping 45 percent. (A spokesman for the chain told the Times on Monday that Twin Peaks was revoking its franchise agreement with the Waco restaurant’s operators.) 

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What’s interesting is that the rapid growth being enjoyed by Twin Peaks hasn’t seemed to carry over to other big players in the restaurant industry’s “attentive service sector.” Sales at Hooters have been flat or declining for years now. According to data from restaurant industry research firm Technomic, Hooters’ sales grew just 2.5 percent last year and 0.4 percent in the year prior. At Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, a Celtic-themed sports bar featuring scantily clad waitresses, sales were up 15.4 percent between 2012 and 2013, but growth cooled to 3.7 percent the following year. Among the top five restaurants in the category as tracked by Technomic, Brick House Tavern + Tap was the only other chain to report sales growth in the double digits last year, at 37.3 percent.

What’s that tell us about the breastaurants sector as a whole? Honestly, not that much. Maybe chains like Twin Peaks are doing well because of their risqué atmosphere and wait staff, but they could also be succeeding because they’re good sports bars. Either way, it’s almost certainly a welcome thing that Waco’s Twin Peaks, which city authorities say had repeatedly failed to cooperate with local police, is now likely staying out of business.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.