If you never seem to get that coveted restaurant table by the window, you might think the place is just too busy.
But restaurateurs have revealed the real reason - and it might leave a bad taste in your mouth.
They have admitted they seat good-looking diners at prominent tables to attract more customers, while those considered less attractive are placed at the back near the kitchen or toilets, to keep them out of sight.
Restaurant owners said the discriminatory practice is commonplace in trendy eateries that want to project a glossy image.
Celebrity chef in the UK, Simon Rimmer, 52, said the diners who are sat by the window could affect an establishment's popularity, adding: "Every restaurant has a golden table where they sit the best-looking customers. A restaurant's clientele give off a certain message about the place. Good-looking customers attract more people and make you more cash so you sit them where they can be seen."
Mr Rimmer, co-host of UK Channel 4's Sunday Brunch, owns Greens, a vegetarian restaurant in Manchester, and Earle in Cheshire.
Neil Gill, owner of London's Season Kitchen, said attractive diners can raise the tone and profile of an establishment. He told Channel 4: "Everybody likes to associate themselves with cool people and good-looking people. You want to feel like you are eating in a restaurant where there are other cool people."
Models posing as customers for a Channel 4 documentary were given top tables in three luxury London restaurants.
But actor Adam Pearson, whose face is covered in tumours, was either turned away or hidden at the back of the same restaurants. The disability rights campaigner, 31, said it was "disappointing" such prejudices exist. He added: "Next time you get sat at the back of the restaurant, you know why."
The practice has been a longstanding feature of chic Parisian restaurants.
Guests at Le Georges, at the top of the Pompidou Centre, and at Café Marly, near the Louvre, are allegedly given tables based on appearance. Former employees at the Costes group restaurants said they were forced to profile customers based on looks, wealth and race.
One said: "The good-looking ones are led to the good places, where they can be easily seen. As for the non-good-looking ones, it is imperative they be dispatched to the corners."
- Daily Mail