The Hot Waitress Economic Index: A Primer

The Hot Waitress Economic Index: A Primer

I was looking up some financial terms on Investopedia the other day when I came across an interesting item: the Hot Waitress Economic Index, which posits that the worse the economy, the hotter the wait staff at your favorite restaurant will be.

The theory is that in good economic times, hot people have no problem getting work: as models, for example, but also as salespeople, clerks, and -- let's be honest -- most everything that involves interacting with people. This applies to men as well as women, to the extent that they're hired based on an eye-candy factor.

But when the economy tanks, those higher-level jobs are cut, and all the beautiful people are pushed to look for work in the service sector, where they'll earn tips by smiling seductively as they refill your water glass.

But here in South Florida -- a booty-shorts-crazed restaurant zoo that makes Hooters look tame and conservative -- do the same metrics apply?

Take a place like Brick House Tavern + Tap, which amps up the Hooters

theme into strip-club-like personal attention, or Capone's on

Himmarshee, where bartenders don't really wear pants, or the bartenders

in tiny black dresses at the Funky Buddha or any number of bars in Boca,

West Palm, and beyond. Not to mention Miami, where there's probably a

bar where they wear just pasties.

Our tourism economy is dominated by the mythical idea of free-flowing

booze and not-so-subtle flirtation, and it's not so common to see well

more than half of the person bringing you your drinks or dinner.

Personally, I've lived here only while the economy was shit (since late

2010), so I wouldn't know if these joints switch over to homely staffers

when markets are booming. I imagine not, though. And in a bid to

compete with other struggling businesses, owners would probably place a

priority on hiring even hotter people to lure in those last straggling


New York magazine says the Index is a leading indicator, which means

that hot people getting hired in a particular industry happens on the

early end of a recovery or downfall. With each ugly waiter, there's a

glimmer of hope.

Have you noticed a trend one way or the other? If you get one more bacon foie-gras chipotle bacon jam bleu cheese kobe truffle burger served by a gorgeous specimen, are you going to have to sell your yacht? We're here to listen.

Stefan Kamph: Follow on Twitter | 

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