Since the first Rick's Cabaret opened three decades ago, the company has grown into a publicly traded strip club empire with more than two dozen locations nationwide. It prides itself on classiness, boasting on its corporate website that it was while dancing at Rick's Cabaret that Anna Nicole Smith met J. Howard Marshall, her billionaire husband, and that "many of our performers have become Penthouse Pets and Playboy Playmates."
Now, having fully penetrated the gentleman's club market, so to speak, the company has settled on another outlet for growth: breastaurants.
Rick's Cabaret International opened its first earlier this year on Stemmons Freeway in Dallas. Called "Bombshells," it has a World War II-era military theme, complete with artillery shells out front and servers wearing dog tags and camouflage daisy dukes. Their second, the Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon and Restaurant, opened a couple of months later on NE Loop 820 in Fort Worth. The name is inspired by, but in no way associated with, Talledega Nights. And Rick's announced today that it will be opening a second Bombshells just outside Houston.
It's easy to dismiss breastaurants as wannabe strip clubs catering to those men who are too timid to go to the real thing or else want to rationalize their tit-staring by saying they're going for the food. But they're serious business. In a breastaurant trend story last year, The Associated Press reported a one-year, 30-percent jump in sales among the top three non-Hooters chains.
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Meanwhile, Rick's topless dancer business suffered during the recession and, while it has recovered enough to open a second location in New York's Times Square, an exploding breastaurant market is too attractive not to grab hold of.