Famous NYC Restaurant Lets Staff Drink Before Their Shift, Tips Go Up 5%

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Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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A restaurant owner in New York City discovered that tips increased after he let his staff have a glass of wine before service on Tuesday, Business Insider reported.

Keith McNally, the owner of Pastis, Minetta Tavern and Balthazar, posted to Instagram on Wednesday what he called a “one time only experiment” — that is, for his staff to have a glass of rosé prior to starting service.

“Last night, as a one time only experiment, I allowed my Balthazar staff to drink a full glass of rosé before service began. Surprisingly, the tips were 5% higher on the night,” he wrote.


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Located in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, the restaurant often hosts celebrities. However, McNally was forced to close Balthazar’s doors in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and was later hospitalized in London for COVID-19, Business Insider reported. Doctors told McNally he had a 50% survival rate, according to The Daily Beast.

After Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted some indoor dining capacity restrictions, Balthazar reopened its doors in March 2021. (RELATED: New York Gov. Cuomo Announces New York City Indoor Dining Set To Return On Valentine’s Day)

“Balthazar is too large an organization to survive with anything less than 50 percent capacity,” McNally told The New York Post.