Lookism: Eateries hide ugly diners in the back.


The owner of Greens––a well-regarded neighborhood restaurant serving inventive, globally inspired meat-free cuisine––comments on how seating works in some eateries. I’ve been to his restaurant in the Didsbury section of Manchester, England. I guess the host who seated the couple who took me found us “passable” ‘cuz he seated us in the middle
of the Greens’ dining space. Lookism at work? Read on.


Greens vegetarian Restaurant 

Laura Armstrong’s article in The Sun below alerted me to lookism in the industry.
Restaurants deliberately allocate their best tables to their most attractive diners, an investigation has found.

Models posing as customers for a TV documentary were given “golden tables” in three top restaurants.

But those considered less attractive were seated at the back near kitchens or toilets.

And two restaurateurs admitted it was common practice. TV chef Simon Rimmer owns Greens in Manchester and Earle in Cheshire (both in the UK).

Do restaurants deliberately place good looking customers up the front?
Do restaurants deliberately place good looking customers up  front?           Source:istock


He said: “Every restaurant has a golden table where they sit the best looking customers. A restaurant’s clientele give off a certain message about the place.

“Good looking customers attract more people and make you more cash so you sit them where they can be seen.”

And Neil Gill, who owns London’s Season Kitchen, said: “Everybody likes to associate themselves with cool people and good looking people.

“You want to feel like you are eating in a restaurant where there are other cool people.”

They were speaking to Channel 4’s ‘Tricks of the Restaurant Trade’, on at 8pm on Tuesday.

It follows actor Adam Pearson, whose neurofibromatosis has left his face covered in tumors.

He hired two models to go into three swanky London venues followed by himself and a pal.

The girls were given prominent seats but Adam and his pal were hidden away or told there were no tables available.

He called it “disappointing” and said: “Next time you get sat at the back of the restaurant, now you know why.”

My reaction to restaurant lookism:

I don’t go out to eat much anymore. It’s too expensive (in Greater San Francisco), too much of a hassle (oft need to speed-dial for scarce reservations), and now maybe I’m too ugly.

What your reaction?

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  1. Janie Junebug says:

    That never occurred to me, but it makes sense.

    • Maybe I’ll try those “dine in the dark” places. It makes sense, too, to concentrate on one’s tastebuds, free of visual stimuli. Drawback: went into such a place last year looking to see a menus and prices. Said they don’t have menus.
      Decided to eat elsewhere.

  2. Nope. Don’t buy it for a second. I see some pretty ugly mugs setting near the front at restaurants. In fact, I can’t think of one restaurant where I noticed that that people near the front where better looking than those at the back.

    • Agree with your skepticism. Would need many more ‘subjects’ and random selection of restaurants (and the models used as ‘confederates/plants’) before any conclusions can be drawn.

      • Theodore Zatorski says:

        I’m 66 years old and have declined from homely to down right doggy over the years. Yet it is funny I never had a problem in restaurants.

        • Thanks for your feedback which is also admirably humble — or self-effacing given the topic. Ditto for me, and I’ve had an asymmetrical cleft-affected face most of my life. Surgeries in my 40s
          evened out my nostrils, but swung my whole nose to the left. Not to be sexist, my guess is much of the ‘lookism’ evaluated in this “study” has to do with female looks. Also, the study seemed more subjective than objective, and needs to be replicated.

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