It’s tough to be a waiter or a waitress. At the highest end of the field, in the trendiest or most reputable restaurants, a six-figure salary can be earned. This is rare, and those spots typically demand people with superlative balance, who can memorize and recall intricate details of every dish on the menu, including all ingredients and the preparation methods, who can maintain a positive attitude through adversity and never appear stressed, and who have an impeccable sense of timing.
For most people, waiting on tables is a method of getting just enough cash to cover bills while working toward a better career.
And then there’s the Kayabukiya Tavern, where the waiters only work for two hours a day…. because that’s all that anti-animal cruelty laws will allow.
The Japanese bar has internationally famous waiters in the form of the establishment owner’s pet Macaque monkeys. He let them stay with him in the tavern for months before noticing that one of them was watching him carefully as he passed out warm towels to the customers. Curious, he handed a towel to the monkey… who proceeded to emulate the owner by walking to a customer and handing the towel over. A soybean treat was the immediate reward.
Since then, the tavern has become a minor sensation, with travelers to the Tochigi prefecture regularly stopping in for a drink. The monkeys have learned to bring not just towels but some forms of alcoholic beverage, and they dress in reduced-sized waiter’s uniforms.
Much like any other service staff, the Macaques appreciate tips for their efforts. Soybeans are preferred.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite monkey or ape?