Yes, it’s true: The economic crisis has not only clobbered the restaurant industry, but now it’s brought at least one business to hire monkeys. CNN reports that a sake house in Tokyo has “recruited” two Japanese Macaques as waitstaff. Yes, you heard right—they’re using trained monkeys as employees.
The monkeys’ job duties—which can last no more than two hours a day to avoid violating animal rights regulations—include offering hot towels to diners, delivering change, and serving beers. While health regulations in the area are as strict as anywhere else, the monkeys have been “deemed sanitary” by health inspectors so long as they wear their (adorable) checkered kimono uniforms.
Arguments about animal cruelty or sanitation aside, the gimmick is working: The restaurant owner tells CNN that the tourists his waiter-monkeys brings in have made him immune—so far, anyway—to the brutal economic downturn.
As for tipping, these servers would rather pocket soybeans than cash—which may be smart, given that the former could soon be worth more than the latter.