From making eye contact with a bartender to leaning over the counter, many people have secret strategies for getting served quickly at a bar.
But now scientists have said it is as simple as where and how you stand.
German researchers said busy bar staff choose customers to serve if they are standing facing the bar or are directly in front of them, instead of whether they have cash at the ready or are snapping their fingers.
The scientists’ study of body language is being used to develop a bartending robot that will be able to spot who really wants a drink and serve them in the fairest order.
Researchers from the Bielefeld University found nine out of 10 thirsty customers adopted the subtle approach of deliberately facing the bar, which is the most successful for getting noticed and served, according to the study.
By contrast, only one in 15 customers looked at their wallets to signal that they would like to place an order while fewer than one in 25 customers gestured at the bartender.
Those not needing to quench their thirst subconsciously maintained a small distance to the bar and turned away from it by chatting to friends instead, signalling to staff that they did not want service, the scientists said.
Psychologist Sebastian Loth said: ‘Effectively, the customers identify themselves as ordering and non-ordering people through their behaviour.’
The study, published in online journal Frontiers in Psychology, looked at recordings of customers at nightclubs in Edinburgh and Germany to analyse how their body language attracted the bar staff’s attention.
The findings form part of pan-Europe research to develop a bartending robot that is able to spot who wants a drink.