International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss


Visible Tattoos and Employment in the Restaurant Service Industry
Sara A. Brallier, Karen A. Maguire, Daniel A. Smith, Linda J. Palm

The objective of this study is to assess restaurant managers’ decision to hire servers as a function of the applicants’ tattoo status and gender. Managers are shown a resume and a photograph of a potential job applicant. The photograph depicts either a man or woman, with or without visible tattoos. Based on past research, Alternative Hypothesis One predicts that tattooed applicants will be less likely to be hired than non-tattooed applicants. Additionally, Alternative Hypothesis Two predicts that tattooed female applicants will be less likely to be hired than tattooed male applicants. One hundred ninety-two managers employed at restaurants located in the Grand Strand region of South Carolina participate in the study. The results of this study suggest that employers still view visible tattoos negatively with respect to employment in the food service industry. This study demonstrates a preference for restaurant managers to hire individuals without visible tattoos. Additional analysis reveals no significant difference exists between genders within the same category of tattoo/non-tattoo status. However, employers consider non-tattooed females more employable than both tattooed males and females, while non-tattooed males show no such significant difference.

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