Overeating at the restaurant: the fault of the server’s weight

It is not what the waiter offers or tells you, but his weight that influences the quantity of food and drinks ordered, according to a study with rather unexpected conclusions.

The factors influencing eating behavior are numerous and certainly do not relate to physiology alone. Thus, a study had recently shown that in restaurants, men eat more when they are in the presence of female company, which is not true for women. Here is a new research reports that the order made in the restaurant is higher when the weight of the server is high.

Dessert, alcohol: depending on the weight of the server

The analysis carried out by the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University covers 497 dinners at 60 restaurants. Each order was then cross-referenced with the servers’ BMI.

It shows that when meals are ordered from staff with a high weight, there is a 4 times greater chance that a dessert will be ordered. The amount of alcohol is also increased by 17% in the presence of a heavy server.

lighting and music also influence

Tim Doering, a researcher at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, specifies that this effect is found for both waiters and waitresses, and that the influence of their weight is particularly marked for lighter meals. For co-author Brian Wansink, a good strategy would be to choose between a starter or a dessert before going to the restaurant. Because there, in addition to the corpulence of the server, the lighting, the music and even the place are likely to skew the order.

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Doering, Tim and Brian Wansink. Environment & Behavior. doi: 10.1177/0013916515621108


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