4/23/2012 12:54:00 PM

Controversial Restaurant Policies: Is It Ok for Restaurants to Require Headshots?

Help wanted - send a photo??

In our recent travels around the country celebrating some of the restaurant industry's up and comers (including our just-released list in NYC) we've constantly been impressed by just how attractive these talented professionals are. Of course, they have reached these positions based on their merit - not how they look, but some restaurants make no bones about asking for a headshot or picture when they put the call our for employees. Both of our editors have worked in the industry and have encountered this practice, and this week they discuss whether this somewhat common occurrence has any place in the industry.

James: When I've applied for restaurant jobs before, the ad has clearly stated that they require a picture as part of the application. Do you think restaurants should do this?

Kelly: "Should" is a strong word, but I think it's their right. A restaurant is an aesthetic-heavy type of business, the prettier things are, the more appetized you are by the food. I dont think they should not hire someone qualified because they aren't that good looking but in New York, there are plenty of good-looking qualified people. It just kind of happens naturally.

James: But by asking for the headshot off the bat are you really looking at their qualifications at all? Or are you just looking to see if they fit your aesthetic?

Kelly: I think they start with qualifications - most restaurants wouldn't hire an inexperienced server just because they are attractive. Not in places in which service mattered anyway.

James: I think it's different at the higher-end establishments, they wouldn't put a server through this. I do think that there are plenty of mid-scale and lower range restaurants that will certainly take a pretty person over someone with legit experience. That happened where I used to work. There were beautiful waitresses who didn't know how to open a bottle of wine with a corkscrew. They still got great tips though.

Kelly: Yeah, but those are dumps. They wouldn't hire an inexperienced person at an important restaurant just because they are pretty. There is too much on the line.

James: In any case, different types of restaurants do it, but is it ethical?

Kelly: I don't know if it's ethical, so to speak, but it's happening. Whether you acknowledge it or not, good-looking young people have every advantage in our society. It's the same if you went on a job interview for a sales job. It helps to be young and good looking whether people admit it or not.

James: I bet they're not asking you to submit a photo with your resume for that sales job, though.

Kelly: I guess technically the whole thing is "wrong" but it's going to just happen either way. Restaurants have a right to choose who they want to work for them. If that "type" of server attracts more clients for the restaurant, they will keep doing it, believe me.

James: Then you go into these hip places where they seemingly hire only people with sleeve tattoos. What about all servers that don't have ink? What about them?!

Kelly: There are plenty of restaurants in New York, they just have to find one where service matters above sleeves.

Photo: photologue_np via Flickr 


Post a Comment