A Hooters restaurant in Farmingdale, which closed after a dispute between Hooters of America, Llc. and the franchisee, will reopen this summer with new management.
Marc Phaneuf, the new franchisee, confirmed that he will be opening the Hooters in Farmingdale and another former location in Fresh Meadows, Queens, within one to three months.
Both Hooters had stood as a Bud's Ale House from last October to February. The former Hooters franchisee, Strix Restaurant Group, had rebranded the locations after Hooters of America sued the company over franchise fees, but ultimately closed the Bud's because it was not making enough money, a company spokesman said in February. The lawsuit is still pending.
Strix also operated and rebranded Hooters locations in East Meadow and Islandia before closing them down. The company has faced other legal problems in the past year. Last September, Strix was sued by a Korean-American man claiming an employee at the Fresh Meadows location used a racial slur to describe him. Strix's owner, William Harley, was also sued last October by a Pittsburgh nonprofit, which alleged the money management firm Harley ran mishandled a $2 million investment and was operating in a Hooters basement. The suit involving the Fresh Meadows location is still pending, while the status of Harley's lawsuit is unknown.
Phaneuf, who currently operates six Hooters franchise locations in upstate New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, said there are plans to open more Hooters on Long Island, but he is currently only focused on the Farmingdale and Fresh Meadows locations because they were the two most high volume restaurants
Hooters of America approached Phaneuf about launching a new Hooters franchise in Long Island after the agreement with Strix fell through. The search for a location for the new franchise coincided with the times when the Bud's in Farmingdale and Fresh Meadows were closing, and Phaneuf was able to secure the two former buildings.
"They were looking for an experienced operator because of the situation with the previous franchisee," he said. Phaneuf has been operating Hooters franchises for more than 20 years. He said he hopes to hire about 70 employees for the Farmingdale location and 85 workers for Fresh Meadows.