During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, being a Harvey Girl was an attractive career choice for young, unmarried women who wished to leave home. Thousands of young women willingly answered the ad that read, "Wanted: Young women, 18 to 30 years of age, of good character, attractive and intelligent, as waitresses in Harvey Eating Houses in the West. Good wages, with room and meals furnished." (Meals by Fred Harvey: A Phenomenon of the American West)
Through the introduction of the Harvey Girls, the company further elevated the level of service it provided. The Harvey Girls were held to high standards as the primary contact between the customer and the company. The Harvey Girls were considered the belles of the West and were as much of a part of the Harvey experience as the food and hotels. The iconic imagery of the Harvey Girls was so legendary that it inspired the 1946 MGM production The Harvey Girls, which starred Judy Garland.