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Business Lunch at Hooters?

If your boss invites you to lunch and he enthusiastically says, "How does Hooters sound?"—male or female—what do you do?

When going out to eat with your boss, does it matter where you dine?

The following scenario was described to me by an all-American twenty-something year-old man who requested anonyimity:

During a business trip, my boss offered to take me to lunch.   Being that we were in a popular tourist town, I suspected we would try one of the many time-honored seafood restaurants.  Instead, we were headed to Hooters.

I enjoy this restaurant as much as the next guy, but as a business-expense lunch?  I felt uncomfortable during the meal due to the scenery, which I was attempting to enjoy, but not to the extent that I would seem perverted.  I was dancing on a fine line between being respectful to my boss, discussing important business information, and glancing at the waitresses wandering by.  The waitresses won.

I question the appropriateness of this business lunch.  Should I have said something?  As a man (if I did have something to say), would my boss look at me as if I had lost my "manhood?"  How could I have lived with myself if I would have turned down the opportunity to see half-naked women?

In the future, I would prefer to eat at Hooters in the company of good friends.

What would you do?

Etiquette approach:  Do you think a male boss would have taken a female employee?   It can be difficult to speak up when you are new to a company or it is your boss.  If you can get through it, chalk it up to a challenge and a new experience.  It also reveals a lot about your boss. 

Another option is to recommend an alternative.

Rosalinda Oropeza Randall is an etiquette consultant who owns Your Relationship Edge in which she teaches classes and presents workshops to a variety of audiences. She can be reached at rosalinda@yourrelationshipedge.com and her website is www.yourrelationshipedge.com. She can also be reached on Facebook. 

Jimmy A. Rodriguez Lopez April 24, 2012 at 10:31 AM
I don't understand the hatred of this place. It isn't the greatest restaurant out there but it certainly isn't a 'disgrace' (lol). No one is being forced to work there, in fact I knew a broad who worked there and according to her the only people who were being exploited were the saps who tipped generously in hopes of getting a phone number. Cry about it all you want you feminist fatties, but these girls are using what God gave them as empowerment and working their way through college or raising kids. And trust me they aren't sitting in front of a mirror sulking and feeling violated after hearing a few cat calls on their shift... they're too busy laughing all the way to the bank.
Zentrifugal April 26, 2012 at 06:00 PM
If a boss recommended Hooters as a spot for a business meal I would respectfully decline. If I had to I would make some excuse that I have an agreement with my significant other not to patronize the place. I have nothing against Hooter's but it is not the place for a professional lunch meeting whether you're a male or a female. As for some earlier comments about Hooter's exploiting women, I think that is baloney. Most women, like men, can make the choice to work wherever they want, whether it's at Denny's, Sear's, Hooter's, or a strip club. No one is exploiting someone who is free to choose where to work. I think it is disingenuous to make it sound like women are being manipulated by men to dress skimpily and work in restaurant. What does that say about your opinion of women? That they are easily controlled and stupid? We're not talking about some eastern European sex slave trade. Now that's exploitation. For the record, I've never been to Hooters, but I hear the wings are great.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall April 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Your example of an excuse, is a good one, Zentrifugal. Your points about women "choosing" to work at Hooter's or any other place, are well made. Thank you for your opinion. Your comment about the wings, made me chuckle.
Mark Cox April 27, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I had a friend ask me once, "What if they had the male version of Hooters, where all the waiters had to wear tight leather shorts and they could call the place 'Peckers'?" Her point was to show how ridiculous a place Hooters is and the image cracked me up... but it does bring up a good question: would many executives have a business lunch in such a place and would people even find it an appetizing place to eat?!
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall April 27, 2012 at 05:51 PM
LOL! If you ever do find a "solution" to the mind-blowing dilemma of the differences between men and women, men will flock to your side with anticipation. For now, perhaps accepting it is the best route. Thank you for your light-hearted post. :}

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