A heavier waiter could mean a heavier meal, study shows
In this June 3, 2009 photo, customers enjoy lunch at an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, in New York. (AP / Mark Lennihan)
Published Wednesday, January 6, 2016 10:30AM EST
Your decision to have a slice of pie while dining out could be influenced by your waiter's weight, according to a new study.
A new Cornell University Food and Brand Lab study released last week found that restaurant diners were four times more likely to order dessert, and ordered 17 per cent more alcohol, when their server was heavier.
The study, published in the current issue of Environment and Behavior, looked at 497 diners in 60 casual U.S. restaurants, including Applebee's and T.G.I. Fridays.
The researchers compared each customer's order and Body Mass Index (BMI) to their server’s BMI.
The study found that a heavier server seemed to have an even greater influence on diners with lower BMIs.
Past studies from Cornell have also shown that the music and lighting in a restaurant can influence diners' orders.
"No one goes to a restaurant to start a diet. As a result, we are tremendously susceptible to cues that give us a licence to order and eat what we want," lead author Tim Doering said in a news release. "A fun, happy, heavy waiter, might lead a diner to say 'what the heck,' and to cut loose a little."
The researchers said deciding whether to order an appetizer or a dessert – not both – before arriving at a restaurant could be a strong "diet defence."