By Ashley O.
Is it coincidence that many trendy restaurants hire only attractive waitresses? You walk into a restaurant and are seated by the hostess and told that “Lisa” will be your waitress. Are you impressed that she is slim and attractive; has a great ass and is busty; and provides great service? Take a look around and you will realize that young ladies that have these qualifications staff the restaurant. Does the team screen applicants using a selective process? Is the dress code the waitress’ choice? Let’s look at some practices of hiring and attire. A former restaurant manager of Moxie’s Classic Grill in Toronto says the first question was about their appearance: Does she have a nice ass and a decent rack? To be sure no “uglies” got an interview, front of house staff were directed to screen applicants coming through the door and mark their resumes with a “110” if they were unattractive. This is code for “do not call.” Earls Kitchen and Bar in Edmonton, well-known for its beauties serving customers, say hiring by looks isn’t something they endorse. Canada’s Human Rights Law says employers cannot discriminate when hiring based on age, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation or physical disability. However, it only has jurisdiction over federally regulated organizations (Times Colonist, 2007). A case could be made for job seekers who are refused employment for being ugly. Spokespeople for both Moxie’s and Earls deny hiring for looks (Brownlee, 2011).
How sexy should servers dress? At Earls the servers wear a black mini-skirt, white tank top and one inch heels. Again, a spokesperson denies having a dress code. The Shark Club endorses a uniform that includes a black skirt no less than six inches above the knee, a cross-back tank top and knee-high black leather boots. At Smith’s Pub the uniform is simply black attire. While some female servers believe that “some skin brings in more tips” one waitress believes that she makes more tips by “dressing classy and giving good service” (Times Colonist, 2007).
When I was at a restaurant in Halifax I realized that the all the servers were females and the attire they were wearing was tight black V-neck shirts and tight black pants. Noticing this, I realized a lot of restaurants hire pretty females as servers and hostesses. Friends, couples and families frequently use their leisure time to visit a restaurant where they can enjoy a meal without concern for meal preparation. Some restaurants even claim to be family restaurants and the image of the “ideal” waitress is presented to the families. Much like what we discussed in class about media and how females are portrayed, we see similar portrayal in restaurants. The restaurant industry is sexually objectifying women by presenting their servers dressed provocatively to obtain business and tips. I think the restaurant industry has gone too far in their hiring techniques and hiring should be done solely on the professional qualifications of the individual as opposed to appearance. What are restaurants really selling – sex appeal or your dinner? While I chose to explore the restaurant servers, I am well aware that other leisure service industries require their employees to dress in a manner designed to attract consumers.
Times Colonist – Victoria. (2007, August 7). Peterscu on Fashion: How sexy should servers dress? Retrieved from: http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=1bc4974a-515e-4326-8b40-2e02b19f8a84&sponsor
Brownlee, K. (2011, March 22). ‘Uglies need not apply. Retrieved from: http://www.torontosun.com/life/2011/03/17/17656191.html