Increasing Tips as a Waitress Using Color Psychology

Is there a relation between the color red and sexual attractiveness?

A study published in April of 2012 by The Journal of Hospitality and Tourism demonstrated that the color red led men to view women as more attractive.   The study was tested by instructing eleven waitresses in five different restaurants to wear the same T-shirt, but in different colors (yellow, white, blue, green, black and red) over the course of six weeks. 

The researchers then measured the effect, if any, that the color of the shirts had on both male and female patrons. It was found that color had no effect on female patrons, however, tips increased up to a third more to waitresses wearing red from male patrons.

Researchers concluded that the psychological relation between red and sexual attractiveness explained the results. 

Another study found that men spend more time gazing at a woman wearing red lipstick compared to any other color.  Additionally, other research has shown that red is associated with greater sexual attractiveness of females in some non-human primates.  According to color psychology, red is most often perceived by the mind as energetic, passionate, and confident. On the flip-side it can also be associated with fear, aggression and violence.  Does this show that males noticing red is an evolutionary trait grown out of survival?

Our own data shows that images with at least 40% red have a higher chance of acceptance in females, which could support that the findings that sexual attraction is indeed the outlying factor.


¹ Guéguen, N., & Jacob, C. (2014). Clothing Color and Tipping: Gentlemen Patrons Give More Tips to Waitresses with Red Clothes. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research38(2), 275–280.

Hero image credit: Sharon McCutcheon

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