Entertainment

Restaurateur Keith McNally says Brits tip the worst

By Joanna Bell for Dailymail.Com and Elly Blake

22:16 10 April 2023, update 22:45 10 April 2023

  • New York restaurateur Keith McNally has slammed fellow Brits for being terrible tippers – and says he’s ‘ashamed to be English’
  • He started a famous feud with British talk show host James Corden for throwing a tantrum at Balthazar, and in the past has also banned Graydon Carter.
  • McNally did not refer to a specific incident in his post. In the United States, it is customary to tip service workers between 15 and 25 percent.



New York restaurateur Keith McNally has slammed fellow Brits for being terrible tippers – and said he was ‘ashamed to be English’.

In a searing Instagram post featuring the Union Jack, the London-born owner of famed hotspot Balthazar, who called out James Corden for throwing a tantrum over an omelette last year, slammed his compatriots: “I wonder why the English are generally the WORST TIPS in restaurants in New York?” he exclaimed.

“Especially if they are middle or upper class. This is not a complaint, just a fact. (Even the Scots generally tip better than the English in New York restaurants).

McNally did not refer to a specific incident in his post and did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. In the United States, it is customary to tip service workers between 15 and 25 percent.

McNally’s post comes just two weeks after a separate incident where a New York waitress – who did not reveal where she worked – slammed a table of European diners for leaving a $70 tip on a $700 bill. $.

Keith McNally says he’s ‘ashamed to be English’ after calling Brits terrible tippers
A woman commented on McNally’s post that low tips were due to ‘we expect to tip as an appreciation for exceptional service’
Although British-born Vogue editor Anna Wintour is a regular at Balthazar, McNally launched a blistering attack on the Brits, calling them the worst tips.

As for the old stereotypes that the Scots are stingy, McNally thinks the English tip the worst:

“Even the Scots generally tip better than the English in New York restaurants.” he said.

One IG user explained the lack of tipping in English: “It’s because we expect to tip as an appreciation for exceptional service and not to diminish low wages.”

But McNally replied that he thought it was a British class issue:

‘I don’t believe that’s the reason. Time and time again my servers gave English customers perfect service often receiving far less than the standard 15% tip,” he said, adding:

“I think most middle and upper class English people are leaning abominably because subconsciously they want to keep workers in their place, as they have for hundreds of F****g years.”

Besides celebrity hotspot Balthazar in Soho, McNally also has popular restaurants Minetta Tavern and Morandi.

He regularly posts photos of himself with his celebrity guests, including Anna Wintour and Sienna Miller.

Yesterday McNally revealed that a mystery celebrity who dined at Morandi’s for dinner had left the waiters a $1,000 tip.

“The waiters were thrilled to hear that X was coming tonight. X is incredibly generous and usually leaves more than a grand for the tip. X decided to sit in a booth today. (He usually opts for a window table.) X left a $1,000 tip for the Mercedes waiter.

It is unclear who the mysterious celebrity restaurant is.

McNally asked “I wonder why the English are generally the worst tippers in restaurants in New York?” (He is pictured with English actress Sienna Miller in February)

Last year McNally confronted British talk show host James Corden over his ‘abusive’ behavior towards waiters when he sent back an egg yolk omelet for having traces of egg white . He claimed he had a food allergy.

However, after 86’ing Corden – a term used in the restaurant industry meaning to stop serving someone or drive them away – McNally has since revoked the ban.

Following allegations that Corden was “abusive” of Balthazar’s staff, McNally posted a lengthy message on Instagram calling out the comedian and actor for his alleged behavior.

McNally said Corden called him to apologize “profusely.”

Stating that ‘all was forgiven’, he said: ‘Having screwed up more than most people, I am a firm believer in second chances. So if James Corden lets me host his Late Late Show for 9 months, I will immediately rescind his ban from Balthazar. No of course not. But… anyone magnanimous enough to apologize to a slacker like me (and my staff) does not deserve to be banned from anywhere”.

His celebrity-favorite restaurants attract the likes of Mick Jagger, Cher and Andy Warhol, but McNally has strict rules about how he treats customers in his restaurants — including not giving stars special treatment.

“Never offer them drinks at home, always talk to the person they’re with more than them,” he told The Sunday Times.

“Famous people really get pissed off by overly elaborate service. They just want to be left alone.

Not hovering around tables and always repeating orders to customers to ensure no mistakes are made are also part of the requirements McNally sets for his servers to ensure diners have the best dining experience.

“Be friendly, but never buddy,” he began in a lengthy Instagram post, which he titled “Rules for Restaurant Services.”

“Always repeat the customer’s order. Skate sounds like a steak after a martini.

McNally began a feud with fellow Brit James Corden after the talk show host threw a tantrum when egg whites were spotted in his wife’s egg yolk omelet.
Corden and Julia in 2018. He claimed she told Balthazar staff she had a “severe food allergy”

McNally was born in Bethnal Green in east London in 1951, to Joyce, a housekeeper and Jack, a dockworker and amateur boxer.

In 1975, he moved to New York where he intended to become a director, but quickly turned to restaurants after working a series of cooking jobs, from oyster sheller to waiter.

Five years later, he opened his first restaurant, the Odeon in Tribeca, with his first wife Lynn Wagenknecht and his brother Brian.

The Odeon quickly became the “center of the downtown arts scene”, with Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Anna Wintour, Lorne Michaels and the cast of Saturday Night Live among its regulars.

The Cockney who became king of the New York foodie scene: How Keith McNally, 71, the twice-divorced boss of celebrity hotspot Balthazar, refuses special treatment for stars and hands out free champagne but ‘never at Al Pacino”.

McNally moved to New York in 1975 before opening his first restaurant, The Odeon, in 1980

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