In March of 2012, the Navegante Group took over the management of Hooters’ casino operations. This was done when the ownership of the brand was taken over by a financial capital group. Navegante has been successful in their operation of Hooter’s, having seen four successful years. Now the group is planning on exiting as the licensed casino operator of the brand.
The Navegante Group was only supposed to take on the management role for a six month time frame until the capital group was able to find a buyer, but this did not happen until May of last year. Navegante handled the gaming management operations while a hotel management group took over the operations that were non-gaming, including retail, entertainment, food, etc.
With the Navegante Group in charge of gaming, Mark Sterbens, Sr., was hired on as the General Manager to oversee the gaming operations. During their tenure, the gaming operations were normalized, the casino management optimized along with accounting systems. New casino marketing initiatives were developed which included launching direct marketing programs and a new players club with a tiered setting. With these changes, Hooters was able to see an increase in casino revenues year-on-year even as the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip became to see decreases in their gaming revenues with what is being called the ‘Great Recession’.
The gaming operations of Hooters have now been positioned so that they can be leased out to a permanent operator. The new lessee will take on the role that Navegante Group handled so well after a four year time frame.
The CEO of Navegante, Larry D. Woolf, commented on the announcement by stating that the Navegante Group is proud of their management of Hooters’ casino operations and how it helped to position the casino for the new owners to find a long term lessee. The company took over during difficult circumstances and ensured continuity and implemented improvements on the casino floor while being able to maintain high employee morale and engagement. The Navegante Group looks forward to being able to monitor the continued success of Hooters’.