Last night, due to the whole corporate mishap, I got to teach Image Class to a group of newer hires. Image Class is one step of many in the Hooters training regimen and its basic purpose is to teach girls what is required and expected under the title of Hooters Girl. You learn the uniform and image requirements, tips and tricks for maintaining said requirements, what being a Hooters girl requires as far as attitude, personality and service and why it's all important.
Yesterday, I finally came up with the perfect analogy for the importance of the Hooters Girl image:
"It's like going to Disney World when you're eight. You walk through the park gates and all you want to see is Mickey Mouse because after all this is freaking Disney World and as good as all the other stuff is, Mickey is where it's at. All day you're hoping to see him and finally at the very end of the day you get your chance. You wait in line and suddenly it's your turn and you're so very excited with your little autograph book and pen ready. Then you look up at him and you smile with utter happiness just as you're noticing that this Mickey isn't what you expected. He's all mangy looking and too tall and not plump enough and smells and his ears don't stand up straight and there's no familiar smile. This Mickey is downright frightening. That would not only scare the crap out of you, it'd be the most disappointing moment of your eight year old life."
Yes, that was my Mickey Mouse analogy. I've never used it in class before, but it seemed to get the idea of why upholding the occasionally tedious Hooters Girl standards is of the utmost importance. A Hooters Girl is an icon and icons are universal images with universal expectations. It might not always be fun, but there's a reason why I never have an off day. After all, no one wants to be a mangy Mickey. That's just not cute.