If you were recently seated at a window seat near the front of the house at your favorite swanky restaurant, it may be more than luck, especially if you happen to be dining in the U.K. A new documentary series Tricks of the Trade, reveals certain “dirty” secrets to running a restaurant business at Britain’s high-end spots, including a claim that uglier people are usually sat toward the back of the restaurant.
An undercover experiment in the documentary shows Adam Pearson, a media professional who suffers from a rare facial skin condition that has left his face covered in non-cancerous tumors, attempting to get a table at several high-end London restaurants but was turned away or shown to a table in the back. A few minutes later, three models show up at the same eateries and are immediately seated at prime “golden tables” (i.e. at window tables where passersby can easily see them).
“It's disappointing,” Pearson says in the series. “The next time you get sat at the back of the restaurant, now you know why.”
What’s more is that chefs and restaurateurs do not shy away from admitting that this type of practice is commonplace in the industry:
“Every restaurant has a golden table where they sit the best-looking customers,” says Simon Rimmer, a TV personality and chef at Earle in Manchester. “A restaurant’s clientele give off a certain message about the place. Good-looking customers attract more people and make you more cash, so you sit them where they can be seen."