Waitresses who wear red earn bigger tips from men, study finds

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, August 6, 2012 17:28 EDT
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Young waitress via Shutterstock
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Research recently published in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research has found that waitresses who wear red earned bigger tips from men than waitresses who wore other colors.

“As red color has no negative effect on women customers, it could be in their interest to wear red clothes at work,” researchers Nicolas Guéguen and Céline Jacob said.

The researchers had eleven waitresses in five restaurants wear the same shirt in different colors on different days over a six-week period. The study of 272 restaurant customers found that male patrons gave between 14.6 to 26.1 percent more to waitresses who were wearing red clothing. The waitresses’ color of clothing appeared to have no effect on the tipping behavior of female patrons.

Previous research has found that men find women wearing red more attractive than women wearing other colors. A study conducted at the University of Rochester in 2010 found college-aged men were more likely to ask a woman intimate questions if she was wearing red. The men also chose to sit closer to a woman wearing red than a woman wearing blue.

In many primate species, females display red on their body when nearing ovulation and humans may be biologically predisposed to viewing red as a sexual signal.

“Our findings are in line with an evolutionary perspective on human attraction, and the parallels between men and their more primitive male counterparts in their behavioral response to female red are undeniably striking,” the authors of the 2010 study explained. They believe the effect of red “is due to a biologically based predisposition that is both reinforced and extended by social learning,” such as the association of red with lust, passion, and sexuality in mythology and cosmetics.

But the association between the color red and sex is not limited to men. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2010 found that women rated men as more attractive if they were surrounded by a red matte.

“Red is typically thought of as a sexy color for women only,” said Andrew Elliot of the University of Rochester and University of Munich. “Our findings suggest that the link between red and sex also applies to men.”

[Young waitress via Shutterstock]

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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