First, I have to say I really don’t like the Hooters concept, and must admit I was glad when Hooters Air (the airline) went bust (so to speak).
However, I really have to give them credit for making a great public relations move.
And it only cost them $200.
The story is local too: It seems that one of the evacuees of Katrina used his or her FEMA debit card to live large with a bottle of Dom Perignon and “other alcoholic beverages” here in San Antonio.
In a press release yesterday, Hooters offered to give the money back to FEMA, with its Chairman Bob Brooks saying:
“Even if it's in my restaurants, it's still not right. If FEMA will let me know where to send the check I'll get the $200 out right away,” Brooks said in an announcement from Atlanta, Georgia.
And it seems that FEMA is all too happy to get the money back.
“We will more than welcome the check from Hooters and appreciate their recognition in helping true disaster victims,” said FEMA spokesman Aaron Walker.
The Associated Press picked up the story that nicely piggybacks on the hot news peg of FEMA funds being fraudulently spent.
And most of the stories mention that Hooters has assisted with Katrina efforts by donating $225,000 to the Red Cross and flying supplies into the area on the aforementioned Hooter’s aircraft, making them look less like a Johnny-come-lately.
The timing was impeccable and the offer came across as genuine. An award for great use of resources goes to Hooter’s PR.