A person on a diet can pile up a lot of calories when dining at a restaurant — but it’s not just the sumptuous food that can destroy diners' willpower.
A recent study by Cornell University and Friedrich Schiller University in Germany shows the size of a waiter also influences your decision to order more food.
"Diners ordered significantly more items when served by heavy waiting staff with high body mass indexes, compared with waiting staff with low body mass indexes," researchers report.
Tim Doering and Friedrich Schiller at Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab observed 497 interactions between diners and servers at 60 different restaurants and found that customers tend to order more if their waiter appears a little overweight.
Diners who were waited on by heavyset servers ordered desserts as well as 17.65 percent more alcohol than those patrons who were served by waiters with low body mass index.
The hypothesis is that pudgy waiters make people less self-conscious of their bodies and more willing to let loose. On the other hand, lean waiters make you think twice before ordering for fear of judgment.
Doering also added the disposition, not just the size of a waiter can play a role in your decision — a cheerful, sweet-talking waiter can coax patrons into ordering more drinks or make them consider about having dessert.
However, despair not. Previous studies by Cornell University have found that soft lighting and jazz music can make your food last longer, even though you eat less. Conversely, loud music can make you eat faster and consequently more than you normally would. Placing mirrors in front of yourself when you are eating can also help with weight loss but it can make your junk food taste bad.
Generally, being overweight can result in fat-shaming from most employers. But according to this study, hiring overweight employees can turn out to be an advantage for restaurants.