PEARLAND – After more than a month with no air conditioning, a Hooters restaurant in the Houston area is finally fixing the issue. A restaurant employee said Thursday that a repairman was on-site to fix the issue, and they planned to return to work later that evening.
On Wednesday, several frustrated employees staged a walkout at the restaurant after they said the dining room of a local Hooters had been without A/C for over a month.
“We’ve lost customers. We’ve lost money because of it,” said Corinne Hill, an employee.
The restaurant, located on the 15800 block of South Freeway, was closed for indoor dining Wednesday afternoon, according to a note on the door. Customers were instructed to order curbside pickup.
That came after a staff of roughly a dozen servers and kitchen staff walked out, amid sweltering temperatures inside.
“We’ve been a month and maybe a week without A/C and today we decided as a group we weren’t going to tolerate it. We demand A/C, so we walked out,” Hill said.
For the past month, employees said management told them a part needed to fix the unit wasn’t in stock, prompting staff to take turns to keep cool.
“To keep cool we go into the ice cooler. That way we can stay cool throughout our shift instead of staying miserably hot in the front so people can see us,” said Carlee Pace, an employee.
Customers, Kathy Irwin and Joe Crabtree, dine at the location weekly — including a visit without air conditioning.
“I think for any hard-working person you ought to have the right working environment and in this heat outside. Why should it be this hot inside,” Irwin said.
It’s even hotter if you work in the kitchen like Angelina Salazar.
“Knowing that we just had to close everything down because they haven’t fixed the A/C is messing with our hours,” Salazar said.
A van from an a/c repair company was on-site Wednesday afternoon, but a manager would not confirm whether a fix was underway.
KPRC 2 reached out to Hooters’ corporate office but the call was not returned.
Carlee Pace said she fears losing her job, which helps pay her college tuition. Still, she and other employees stressed the need to take a stand by no longer taking the heat in the kitchen.
“It’s important because we are women. All of us together. We work. We serve people. We need to be treated like we’re more than servers,” she said.
Hill also added that the restaurant management insured them no one would be at risk of losing their jobs after the walkout.