From interesting menu items to the perfect ambiance, restaurants pull out all stops to fill their seats night after night. But if it’s men they’re looking to attract to, the trick might be something much more simple.

A recent study found that men believe their food tastes better when the waitress is attractive. Researchers say this is because good-looking women change mens’ expectations about their dining experience. Alternatively, the study found, when food is served by a handsome waiter, women‘s opinions aren’t swayed.

The research conducted by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University in Canada surveyed 195 participants of both sexes. While an attractive woman raised men’s expectations of the dining experience, women were far more concerned with the location and noise level of the restaurant.

Researched released a statement saying, “The current research shows that the presence of physically attractive individuals can affect consumers’ expectations about their consumption experience which then influences taste perceptions.”

A follow-up experiment showed 603 men pictures of an attractive waitress, then the menu. These men rated their dining experience more highly than if the waitress was unattractive.

To judge this, men were give a glass of orange juice or a not-so-tasty cracker with vegetable spread while they looked at pictures of attractive or unattractive women.

When looking at an attractive woman, men rated the juice as less bitter and sweet and nicer. The study called this the “spill over” effect, meaning looking at someone attractive makes food more attractive, too.

When women were wearing mascara and lipstick and had their hair down, men rated the the cracker and veggie spread more delicious.

But the inverse happens as well. Good-looking waitresses can make food taste worse if it’s bad. Men given the vegetable spread disliked it more when looking at beautiful women, perhaps because the woman’s looks were a mismatch with their dining experience.

The study was the first of its kind and was published in the Journal of Retailing.

(h/t Irish Post)

ALSO TRY: Women no longer primary grocery shoppers.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.