Women in particular like to check out their wait staff Reuters

The handsomest and prettiest waiters in restaurants tend to get the biggest tips, a new study has found - and it's women diners who "reward" the most beautiful females waiting on them.

"Attractive servers earn approximately $1,261 (£810) more per year in tips than unattractive servers," economist Matt Parrett writes in the Journal of Economic Psychology in his paper Beauty and the Feast. "The primary driver is female customers tipping attractive females more than unattractive females." At least, that's how it is in Virginia.

Parrett, an economist with the Food and Drug Adminstration, and aides surveyed 501 diners at Virginia restaurants, asking them about their food, the bill, quality of service, and gender and effectiveness of their server.

They discovered that attractive servers earned approximately 1.26 percentage points more on tips than unattractive servers." That figure went up slightly, to 1.37 percentage points, after taking into account "server productivity and other factors that might affect tips."

Parrett found no significant difference in the amount male customers tipped attractive or unattractive waitresses. But "female customers tip attractive female servers approximately 3.01 percentage points more on a percentage tip basis," according to the research.

Evolutionary sexual competition would suggest that attractive women would receive bigger tips from men trying to impress or date them, and smaller ones from women in competition with them for male attention.

Parrett believes that beautiful people are often stereotyped as more capable. But that only goes so far, he cautions. The beauty advantage can easily be wiped out by atrocious service.