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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 04:14 GMT 05:14 UK
Boss of Hooters restaurants dies
Hooters girl
Hooters denies exploiting women
The chairman of Hooters - the US restaurant chain famous for its scantily clad waitresses - has died.

Robert Brooks, 69, made his fortune from the firm - which uses the slogan "Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined" for its style of cuisine and service.

A post-mortem examination found that he died from natural causes.

Hooters opened its first restaurant in 1983 and Mr Brooks, with a group of other investors, bought franchise rights a year later.

The South Carolina-born businessman later bought control of the company and was under no illusions what made the company a success.

"Good food, cold beer and pretty girls never go out of style," he told Fortune magazine in 2003.

He shared his wealth, buying an American football stadium for Coastal Carolina University.

Firm Criticised

Hooters has 425 restaurants in 20 countries, including one in the UK, in Nottingham.

The company employs 25,000 people including 15,000 "Hooters Girls" and has been heavily criticised for exploiting attractive women.

But on its website the firm says such claims are "as ridiculous as saying the NFL exploits men who are big and fast".

It adds: "Hooters Girls have the same right to use their natural female sex appeal to earn a living as do super models Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.

"To Hooters, the women's rights movement is important because it guarantees women have the right to choose their own careers, be it a Supreme Court Justice or Hooters Girl."

In 1997 a group of Chicago men took the restaurant to court - challenging its right to only hire women for its front-of-house positions.

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