Good looks, not tips, the key to getting a good table in Paris, say ex-waitresses

PARIS (AFP) - Ever wonder why you constantly find yourself sitting next to the toilets in your local restaurant? Revelations about the seating policy at two landmark eateries in Paris might provide an unsettling clue.

According to satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine, it's the quality of your looks - not the size of your tips - that make the difference at Le Georges, the upmarket restaurant on the top floor of the Pompidou Centre, and the Cafe Marly, which occupies a prime spot within the Louvre museum.

Two waitresses who have recently quit Le Georges told the weekly that they were ordered to sort customers into the good looking and the, ahem, less good looking.

Those who made the cut were seated in prominent positions at the front of the restaurant while those who got the thumbs down were ushered off to the back, preferably out of sight.

At the Cafe Marly, the pavement terrace was reportedly declared an ugly-free zone with anyone seeking to reserve by phone systematically told: "We'll do our best but we can't guarantee it."

Pending a looks appraisal on arrival, of course.

And woe betide any member of staff who failed to obey the rules. Reprimands along the lines of "What have you done? We can't have these ugly mugs at this table where everyone who comes in can see them", were common, according to the two women.

Less unusually, the restaurants also allegedly insisted on the waiting staff being easy on the eye.

"You were expected to be sexy - miniskirts up to your bush and plunging necklines," said one. "I got told off for wearing a long skirt and not showing off my breasts enough."

A spokeswoman for the Beaumarly group, which owns the two restaurants and a string of other top restaurants and hotels, declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

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