Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Development in Buckhead in the Form of Twin Peaks

A typical birthday celebration and gift at Twin Peaks?
Addison,Texas-based Twin Peaks will be opening their first Atlanta area location later this summer in Buckhead.  The restaurant will be located alongside Farm Burger at TowerWalk on Piedmont Road across the street from the Disco Kroger.  The Buckhead eatery will be two levels, encompassing over
12,000-square-feet, and is being billed as the chains "flagship" location.   

Atlanta-based La Cima Restaurants, LLC has development rights for growing the chain in Georgia and the southeast.  The wrinkle is that La Cima's Chief Operating Officer is Joseph Hummel, who until last July, and for eight years prior, was Executive Vice President of Operations and Purchasing for Hooters of America LLC.  Shortly before Hummel resigned from Hooters, it is alleged that he electronically sent some 500 pages of "trade secrets" and "sensitive information" including plans related to "management, recruitment, distribution and sales”  to his private email account.

Following Hummel's departure from the company, many other Hooters executives joined Hummel at La Cima, including Coby Brooks, the son of former Hooters owner Bob Brooks.  Coby gained national attention in 2010 when he appeared on the hit CBS reality show "Undercover Boss."  At least three other former Hooters executives joined Hummel and Brooks at La Cima.

This past October, Twin Peaks Chief Executive Randy DeWitt spoke with Nation's Restaurant News, a leading trade publication, and though neither he nor Twin Peaks itself is named in the lawsuit, he called Hooters' claims "frivolous" and "baseless."  “The bottom line is that any significant competitive advantages La Cima enjoys will come from Twin Peaks, not from the company they left,” DeWitt said.

Hooters started in Clearwater, Florida in 1983 but is now based in Atlanta.  With over 430 locations in  44 states and 28 countries, Hooters is known for their signature T-shirts with their slogan "delightfully tacky yet unrefined."

Tilted Kilt started in Las Vegas in 2003 and now operates over 65 locations, eight in Atlanta.  A Celtic-themed eatery with plaid skirts, the Tilted Kilt does not have an official slogan per se but "a cold beer never looked so good" is often found on promotional materials and on their website.

Twin Peaks started in Dallas, Texas in 2005, and now has 18 stores open with two more listed as coming soon on its website (excluding the Atlanta location).  Like Hooters and fellow newcomer Tilted Kilt, each restaurant features scantily clad, busty, usually 20-something girls, accordingly, such restaurants are now referred to as "breastaurants."   Though clearly not as well known as its fellow breataurants, Twin Peaks slogan, "Eats, Drinks, Scenic Views" is clearly intended to become as memorable as the Hooters slogan. 

Meggie Miller, director of marketing for Twin Peaks, refers to the concept as a "Mountain sports lodge" in a video on the restaurant's website.  The video goes on to spotlight the fact that the restaurant offers 29 degree draft beer, a bit of a rarity in the bars, it seems.  Company CEO DeWitt refers to the company's waitstaff as "Lumber Jills."  The video goes on to detail merchandise where the first word used is "original" but of course the restaurant peddles a boob mousepad very similar to a mousepad I've known Hooters to vend for years.  Similarly, all three of the "breastaurants" offer calendars featuring female employees in variations of employee uniforms, or less.  

Twin Peaks itself sued a competitor in federal court in 2010 claiming their slogan "Great Steaks, Cold Beers and Free Scenic Views" was too similar to the Twin Peaks slogan, "Eats, Drinks, Scenic Views." In this case, the proprietor of the business first expressed interest in franchising the Twin Peaks  concept before abandoning those plans and opening his strikingly similar concept, Northern Esposure in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It's my understanding that the restaurant opened this past February after tweaking its slogan, now "Warm & alluring lodge provisions."

In addition to this and the current legal matter involving Hooters and Twin Peaks, others in the segment have had legal troubles of their own. This past fall an African-American former server at the Tilted Kilt in Roswell filed a federal lawsuit claiming she was fired because there were "too many black women already hired."

Hooters has settled numerous suits over the years, most from men claiming it was illegal for them to be denied employment at Hooters because they were male.  

A graduate of the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality at Georgia State, I recall at least one of the Hooters cases coming up in a hospitality law class.  The determining factor in many cases is whether or not being a female is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification or BFOQ, to be employed as a server at a restaurant such as Hooters.  Hooters and other "breastaurants"  depend largely on the sex appeal of their servers to turn an ordinary bar into a cash cow. 

Personally, I think the location selected for Twin Peaks flagship could turn out very well for the local franchise group, given the current legal battle ends in their favor.  The location offers little to no parking in front of the restaurant but should be less of an issue given their (core) demographic.  They will likely do well in the afternoons with white collar businessmen, and even better in the afternoons, showing plenty of sports games.  Being a big fan of Farm Burger and knowing they have done well on weekday afternoons, but not as well on weeknights and weekends, Twin Peaks may help to improve both of those day parts for them.  

I don't think it will put 'em out of business, but I'd anticipate Gordon Biersch and Loco's in Buckhead, as well as Taco Mac at Lindbergh to feel the effects once Twin Peaks opens late this spring.  

Would you dine at a "breastaurant" being waited on by a 300 pound dude?   Do you think Twin Peaks is a unique concept of a Hooters knockoff? Will you patronize Twin Peaks instead of other area sports bars?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Anonymous said...

That looks like a fabulous spot to start off the night for a 21 year old's bachelor party. Who wants some shots?

Anonymous said...

Instant DW. I'll place cash bets with anyone that disagrees.

Atlantan99 said...

@ Anon RE : DW. K, so how long you giving it ... 12 months ... 18...less?

Anonymous said...

If they signed a 12 month lease I give them 6-9 from the date of opening before wondering wtf they're doing continuing to pay the power bill with a negative cash flow - if they were persuaded into a 24 month lease I give them around 9-14 from the date of opening.

Places like tilted kilt & hooters excel in areas like Smyrna because A) they have no other options for the work lunch crowd B) the wives of the diners stay ITP, and they won't have to risk being seen. With that location, the majority of businesses around here wouldn't want their colleagues from work or superiors see them leaving after they realize what it is.

With it being that size of a space, and paying their portion of the parking garage maintenance and repair based on volume it won't work.

Sadly my favorite burger place, Farm Burger, while packed out every week day for lunch appears dead every time I venture by it at night and on the weekends. The TV's they recently installed won't help either. It's not a place someone wants to go to watch a game. It makes it awkward as well if you tried to do so with the way the seating / serving is there. That being said - it's a much smaller space, and the weekday lunch crowd is so robust, I see that maintaining so long as they didn't agree to some ridiculous terms for that space.

I however have no clue how Cantina is still open a few blocks away, or who in their right frame of mind would spend money there; so who knows. I'll loudly proclaim myself an idiot, wish them success, and buy lunch for someone that disagrees at my local breastaraunt if I'm proven wrong.

You think they'll serve milk on draft?

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon, You make some great points and I too hope Farmburger can attract customers on the weeknights and weekends minus the awkwardness.

Perhaps you address you draft milk question with @TwinPeaksGirl ;)

Thanks for the comment and for reading the blog.

Anonymous said...

12 or 24 months? a standard retail lease is 3 years, a restaurant with its detailed build out is generally a 5 year lease with one or more 5 year options.

Anonymous said...

holy tacky batman! can't wait to watch this close. if you're that desperate for boobs just go to a strip club and save yourself the imaginative work.

Anonymous said...

Can't we have a classy place open up in Buckhead? Does everything have to turn into a sleazy strip club? The area is oversaturated with strip clubs. Can't there be more sophisticated entertainment? Does everything have to appeal to the lowest common denominator? My god, can't people just eat in peace? Does sex have to play into everything??

Anonymous said...

I was hoping it would be themed after the 90's TV show of the same name... damn.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE : TV Show Twin Peaks,

You aint the only one!

Thanks for reading and for the comment!

TheJohnP said...

It will probably do well enough. Although there used to be a Hooters on Roswell Rd in Buckhead that closed and became a Shane's Rib Shack if I'm not mistaken. So maybe Buckhead isn't the right place anymore for the taste n' tease of a breasteraunt.

Actually the fact that astonishes me is that there are 8 Tilted Kilts in town. Who knew?

And Buckhead is oversaturated with strip clubs? The only one I can think of is maybe Tattletales, and that area just barely qualifies as Buckhead if at all. What other strips clubs are in Buckhead?!?

Anonymous said...

Any of you morons ever been to a Twin Peaks??? It is clear from most of the comments that none of you know what you are talking about. The beer rocks!! It comes out so cold there are ice crystals in the foam!! The food is great too...not like the crap at Tilted Kilt or the so-called wings at Hooters.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait!! Thanks for the great news!!!!! See you there.

Anonymous said...

Look at how successful Tavern @ Phipps is...you may not like what the cocktail waitresses wear or agree with it, but you still have to admit that it's a proven success in Buckhead. If TP has even moderately decent food they'll pull a large crowd just because of the prime location and the inevitable set up of TVs everywhere you look. Factor in good looking waitstaff and give extra points if they can figure out an awesome patio and it'll be the next "it" place for weekend games and happy hours.

Anonymous said...

I read the Yelp reviews of Twin Peaks in various cities and they are not too glowing.

Anonymous said...

Being a Dallas native, I first tried Twin Peaks roughly two years ago while I was out visiting family. We can all agree-to-disagree on the waiting staffs outfits, it is what it is. The main contributing factor that separates Twin Peaks from Hooters and Tilted Kilt is that their food is actually very good. There isn't one thing on the entire Hooters menu that I would refer to as "good" or even "tasty". Same goes for TK. I believe this chain got it right in terms of the actual quality of the food and beer, not simply the outfits of the girls to get patrons in the door.

I believe that Twin Peaks will capture the entire Tower Place office complex, as well as surrounding business along Piedmont. Being a block away from Peachtree & Piedmont certaintly helps. Do you think the 23-40 yr old males are going to want to sit in rush hour traffic on Thursday and Friday afternoons? Or do you think they would go have a beer at happy hour to a place where they can walk to... Seems like a no brainer to me. I honestly believe TP will flourish in that location, given its exposure to Lenox, Piedmont, and steps from Peachtree. It has the potential to become the new happy hour spot in buckhead, as opposed to the overcrowded and no-parking spot known as Tin Lizzy's. If they open that patio up at Piedmont and Lenox, it could be something really cool...

Anonymous said...

Twin Peaks should be a big hit! Everyone says the food at Hooters and Kilt is "less than tasty", but the servers keep them coming back. A restaurant that serves better food and provides sexier servers? Finally! Sex appeal and food. It's the way to a man's heart. Definite win.

Bob said...

For all you fans of the 90s TV show... Atlanta already has a "Twin Peaks" themed restaurant: the Bookhouse Pub.

Breastaurant Maven said...

First off, the word 'Breastaurant' may be one of the smartest words ever created in the English language, it's just perfect. Second, if you're going to to eat the same pap off a Sysco truck that any chain restaurant serves, why not do it surrounded by some capital knockers. I mean, take a second and scroll back up to the picture on this post. Go on, the comment will still be here. You back, yet? Great. I mean look at the cans on the brunette in the middle, good night. And check out the girl on the far left. She might only be bringing some killer B's to the picture, but she's game for it. And did you see the tomatoes on the blonde in the center? Those are some great zonkers. So yeah, Twin Peaks, welcome to Atlanta and good luck.

Anonymous said...

"Any of you morons ever been to a Twin Peaks??? It is clear from most of the comments that none of you know what you are talking about. The beer rocks!! It comes out so cold there are ice crystals in the foam!!"

ummm, dude, that's not a good thing? but whatever, you keep drinking that shitty 4% ABV beer while looking at boobs you can't get in your own bedroom.

Anonymous said...

It's such a shame that these girls are exploited, working there against their wills and all... wait, what's that? They choose to work there?


Anonymous said...

There are literally hundreds of restaurants in Buckhead where people can "eat in peace". You make it sounds like buckhead is a sleazy place but it has a multitude of upscale dining establishments. If you bother to go in you'll find that the food is good, the girls are friendly, the beer is ice cold and sports are always on. It's always packed so those of you who say it won't have good business are mistaken because they are actually booming. Most of these posts about it being a terrible establishment are likely from middle-aged women bitter about not losing the baby weight reminiscing about when they used to be young and hot if they ever were at all. Don't hate, just enjoy :)