Here’s an interesting article about color and its effects on tips from the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research. Who knew there was such a journal?
Anyway, in the research the authors conclude that men give more tips to waitresses who wear red clothes. Previous research had suggested that men found women wearing red colors more attractive so they thought they’d see how red would affect tipping behavior.
In the study, they had various waitresses wear the same style t-shirt each with one solid different color including red, black, white, blue, green and yellow). So, waitress one wore red, waitress two wore black, waitress three wore white and so on. 11 waitresses total were followed and only patrons who were alone were counted in the experiment. They found that red clad waitresses got more tips from men than any other color. There was no color effect from women patrons.
The conclusion of the authors is that all things being equal, waitresses will make more money if they are wearing red clothing (and perhaps red lipstick). Now, the effect was only measured on patrons who dined alone so it is unclear whether it would translate to groups. But an interesting study nonetheless.
Being a Beauty Brains means always being skeptical of these kinds of studies because it seems incredibly difficult to have proper controls, but servers can use all the advantages they can get. So, if you are looking for an edge in waitressing (and probably dating) wear red, or at the very least, red lipstick.