Most of us have generally assumed that the amount of food we order for ourselves at restaurants is based on the size of our own bodies, and appetites. But a new study out of Cornell University reveals that there’s another factor at play in whether or not we order dessert or another round of drinks, and that is the size of our waiter.
Through a study of 500 diner-server interactions in 60 different restaurants, the head of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, Brian Wansink, discovered that customers tend to order more food “regardless of their own body type” if the person who served them was heavier-set (possessed a Body Mass Index of 25 or above).
According to Wansink, when the servers were heavier-set, their restaurant patrons would not only order more food, they would make less healthy choices. Customers “were four times as likely to order desserts … and they ordered 17.65 per cent more alcoholic drinks.”
The study found that this was the case for all customers, no matter their ethnicity, gender, height, or age.
Through his research, Wansink concluded that a “heavy person sets a social norm,” and gives customers a “why not” attitude towards ordering bigger, unhealthier amounts of food. Weird, huh?
If for some reason you’re worried that you might over-order junk food the next time you go out to eat, Wansink suggests that you enter your meal with a strategic ordering game-plan before meeting your waiter.
Maybe just relax and be mindful of this study. Bon appetite!