Restaurants hide ugly patrons in the back, social experiment finds

Attractive diners are often seated closest to the front of a restaurant.

Attractive diners are often seated closest to the front of a restaurant.  (iStock)

Do restaurants give preferential treatment to more attractive patrons?

No doubt, according to a new episode of the British docu-series “Tricks of the Restaurant Trade."

Researchers on the program found that stereotypically beautiful diners were seated at restaurant tables near windows or in high visibility areas.

But Adam Pearson, a media professional, who suffers from a rare condition neurofibromatosis that leaves his face covered with non-cancerous tumors, went to some restaurants and was either told there was no room or was led to a table in the back of the establishment, reports The Telegraph.

To conduct the experiment, show producers hired four models to pose as would-be diners at three high-end London restaurants. At each eatery, the group were shown to tables closest to the front of an eatery—so called “golden tables” which see a lot of customer foot traffic.

But when Pearson, who appeared in 2013's “Under the Skin” with Scarlett Johansson, attempted to eat at each restaurant, he was turned away or shown to a table furthest from the front of the restaurant.

“It's disappointing,” Pearson says in the show. “The next time you get sat at the back of the restaurant, now you know why.”

The specific restaurants featured in the program were not mentioned but co-host Simon Rimmer, a chef and restaurant owner in his own right, says this type of seating practice is not uncommon.

“Every restaurant has a golden table where they sit the best-looking customers,” explained Rimmer. “A restaurant’s clientele give off a certain message about the place. Good-looking customers attract more people and make you more cash, so you sit them where they can be seen."

British chef Neil Gill of Season Kitchen echoed the sentiment saying that people want to associate themselves with good looking people and that patrons, “want to feel like [they] are eating in a restaurant where there are other cool people.”

In the same episode, “Tricks of the Restaurant Trade” covered secrets behind high end burger chains and how waiters get you spend more money.