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A heavy waiter could make you order extra food

A new study suggests that diners take social cues from their servers.

Image: Shutterstock/melis

PEOPLE EATING IN restaurants are more likely to order dessert or extra food if their waiter is overweight.

A new study from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab suggests that diners take social cues from their servers.

The study of 497 diners in 60 restaurants found that diners who ordered their dinner from heavier wait staff were four times more likely to order dessert, and ordered 17% more alcohol.

Lead author of the study Tim Doering said that diners take social cues from their waiters.

No one goes to a restaurant to start a diet. As a result, we are tremendously susceptible to cues that give us a license to order and eat what we want.

“A fun, happy, heavy waiter, might lead a diner to say ‘What the heck’ and to cut loose a little.”

The study has been published in the current issue of the journal Environment and Behaviour.

The study used American restaurants like TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s and compared the BMI of the waiter to the diner.

Doering notes that a heavy waiter had an influence on even the skinniest diner.

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Along with the size of your waiter, the lighting, music, and even where you sit has been shown to unknowingly bias what you order.

Co-author Dr Brian Wansink says that while you can’t change the weight of your waiter, you can alter your own habits.

“Deciding that you’ll have either a starter or a dessert – but not both – before you get to the restaurant could be one of your best diet defences.”

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