Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hotel Administration

First Committee Member

Kathryn LaTour

Number of Pages



American fine dining established itself as a lucrative business opportunity in the 19th century and was significantly influenced by European dining practices, which mostly notably included the practice of hiring only male servers (Prewitt, 2000). Despite changes in contemporary fine dining that are trending toward a less formal environment, some restaurants still hire only male servers. The purpose of this study is to explore how managers and customers feel about server gender in fine-dining establishments. It will also determine whether a disconnect exists between customers and managers' perceptions regarding the gender of fine dining servers; Qualitative research, using the Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique (ZMET), was performed with five fine-dining patrons from locations throughout the United States and five fine-dining restaurant managers from various establishments in Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. One-on-one in-depth interviews were conducted with participants who brought images they selected to represent their thoughts and feelings about the gender of food servers; The results illustrate that some disconnect exists between managers and customers in their perception and preference on food server gender in fine-dining restaurants. Customers are slightly more open to female servers whereas managers tend to feel more comfortable working with male servers. However, it is interesting to note the paradox that managers do not feel uncomfortable with female servers when visiting fine-dining restaurants as patrons. In addition, the culture and experience of managers and customers has played an essential role in forming the perceptions and expectations of food server gender in fine dining.


Customer; Dining; Establishments; Fine; Food; Gender; Managers; Perception; Preference; Server

Controlled Subject

Management; Social psychology

File Format


File Size

1812.48 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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