Channel 4’s new documentary Tricks of the Restaurant Trade found that visually unattractive diners in London restaurants were deliberately seated at the back of restaurants to keep them out of sight, while attractive looking diners were given prime seats.
Producers on the documentary sent two models along to restaurants in London where they were — big surprise — treated to the best seats in the house. In fact, one waiter pulled out all the stops to squeeze models Charlotte and Toni at the bar.
As soon as the two left, the documentary’s co-host Adam Pearson — who has a condition that causes multiple facial tumours — made a move to get the same seats. Despite the two empty seats, Pearson was told by restaurant staff that there were no seats at all in the bar or restaurant.
At another restaurant, Pearson and his friend were seated in a tucked-away corner, while the two models were seated next to a large window in full view.
“Of course restaurants do this,” restaurant critic Giles Coren told Mashable. “It’s widely recognised in the restaurant industry, and I don’t see anything wrong with it. If I had a restaurant I wouldn’t let ugly people through the door, let alone seat them near the toilets. Wouldn’t you?”
“It’s free advertising for restaurants. When people walk by a restaurant and spot good-looking punters, chances are they’ll want to go there.
“There are restaurants in New York where only good looking people and models can get tables.Londoners just aren’t as good looking as their American counterparts. So, the people sitting at the best tables in Sexy Fish in Mayfair probably wouldn’t be able to get a table in McDonalds in Santa Monica,” he continued.
This kind of behaviour isn’t unique to UK and U.S. restaurants, however. In 2014, French newspaper Le Canard Enchainé claimed guests at Parisian restaurant Le Georges and Café Marly were allocated seats according to a strict appearance policy. According to the restaurants’ former hostesses, the better looking the patron, the better the table.
“The good-looking ones are led to the good places, where they can be easily seen,” they told Le Canard Enchaîné.
“As for the non-good-looking ones, it is imperative that they be dispatched to the corners of the room,” they continued.