Usually the best way to invite poor service at a restaurant is to skip out on the tip, but as Time Warner Cable News Reporter Matt Hunter found out, at one new local establishment it's the rule of the house.
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- "I love it," said Jackie Leonbruno of Lake George. “I think it's very French Bistro like."
"The wine is very good," said Larry Honikel, who joined his wife, Ronnie, for a drink Thursday night.
At the Rare Earth Wine Bar in Glens Falls, customers devoured the unique selection of food and drink.
"The raw bar is an awfully nice touch," said Glens Falls Resident Melanie Quigan, who joined Leonbruno.
"I think they can expect eclectic, certainly from the wine list," General Manager and Co-Owner Michael Belanger said.
Located on Glenn Street in the former location of The Chocolate Mill, the new restaurant celebrated its soft opening Thursday night. Aside from its expansive collection of artwork, something else separates Rare Earth.
"This is an innovation I think is unique," Belanger said.
"I'd never really heard of the concept before," said Robb Freed, a Concierge at the wine bar who’s spent years in the restaurant business.
Wait and bar staff will abandon a time honored practice of the restaurant industry and refuse any and all tips.
"We are not the only tipless restaurant that has existed in North America but there are very few," Belanger said.
For gratuitous customers who just can't resist, that money will be sent to a local charity.
"All of the concierges will work together on picking a charity for the month," Freed said.
"I think it's very nice,” Leonbruno said. “I think people are more apt to give a little more too knowing it's going for a good cause."
To offset their lost wages, staff will be paid between $12 and $15 per hour and participate in profit sharing.
"I think this is a unique way of having everybody work together and have a little bit of ownership for the business," said Freed, who will work mostly in the bar area.
Belanger, along with chef and fellow owner Paul Parker, have already met with numerous local charities. Two will be chosen each month and customers will be given a choice between the two if they’d like to donate.
The way Belanger sees it, everybody wins, "They're going to plug for us just like we'll plug for them."
"We need more people doing these kinds of things," Ronnie Honikel said.
"It just shows what caliber of people is running this and what the need in the community is," Quigan said.
Following Thursday's soft opening, the wine bar opens for good January 30. The first two charities chosen are Shelters of Saratoga and The Lake George Region for Women In Need.