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The Waiter's Weight: Does a Server's BMI Relate to How Much Food Diners Order?

Doering, Tim and Brian Wansink (2017), “The Waiter’s Weight: Does a Server’s BMI Relate to How Much Food Diners Order?” Environment and Behavior, 49:2: 192-214. doi: 10.1177/0013916515621108

32 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2015 Last revised: 28 Apr 2017

Tim Döring

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Date Written: December 3, 2015

Abstract

Introduction: Does the weight of a server influence how much food diners in the high involvement environment of a restaurant? If people are paying for a full meal, this has implications for consumers, restaurants, and public health.

Method: To investigate this, 497 interactions between diners and servers were observed in 60 different full service restaurants.

Results: Diners ordered significantly more items when served by heavy wait staff with high Body Mass Indexes (p<0.001) compared to wait staff with low Body Mass Indexes (BMI). Specifically, they were four times as likely to order desserts (p<0.01) and they ordered 17.65% more alcoholic drinks (p<0.01).

Discussion: This provides valuable evidence in recent lawsuits against weight discrimination, and it suggests to consumers to use general rules of thumb – such as ordering a salad appetizer, no dessert, and one drink – in order to lessen the effect of external environmental cues and the danger of over consumption.

Suggested Citation

Döring, Tim and Wansink, Brian, The Waiter's Weight: Does a Server's BMI Relate to How Much Food Diners Order? (December 3, 2015). Doering, Tim and Brian Wansink (2017), “The Waiter’s Weight: Does a Server’s BMI Relate to How Much Food Diners Order?” Environment and Behavior, 49:2: 192-214. doi: 10.1177/0013916515621108. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2701457

Tim Döring

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Germany

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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