In many restaurants throughout the world, wait staff’s income depends largely on the tips received from customers. According to a new study, male restaurant customers give higher tips to waitresses wearing red. This study was published in a recent issue of Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research (published by SAGE, on behalf of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education).
In their study of 272 restaurant customers, researchers Nicolas Guéguen and Céline Jacob found not only that male patrons gave higher tips than female patrons in general, but that men gave between 14.6% and 26.1% more to waitresses wearing red, while color had no effect on female patrons’ tipping behavior at all. The researchers explained that previous research has found that red increases the physical and sexual attractiveness of women.
Guéguen and Jacob instructed eleven waitresses in five restaurants to wear the same tee shirt in different colors (black, white, red, blue, green, and yellow) on different days over a six-week period. The waitresses were instructed to act as they normally would to all customers and to record how much they received as a tip from each customer.
The author wrote, “As red color has no negative effect on women customers, it could be in their interest to wear red clothes at work.”