The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders: A Tokyo Restaurant Where All the Servers Are People Living with Dementia

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll know that in Japan­ese restau­rants, mis­takes are not made. And on the off chance that a mis­take is made, even a triv­ial one, the lengths that pro­pri­etors will go to make things right with their cus­tomers must, in the eyes of a West­ern­er, be seen to be believed. But as its name sug­gests, the Tokyo pop-up Restau­rant of Mis­tak­en Orders does things a bit dif­fer­ent­ly. “You might think it’s crazy. A restau­rant that can’t even get your order right,” says its Eng­lish intro­duc­tion page. “All of our servers are peo­ple liv­ing with demen­tia. They may, or may not, get your order right.”

Un-Japan­ese though that con­cept may seem at first, it actu­al­ly reflects real­i­ties of Japan­ese soci­ety in the 21st cen­tu­ry: Japan has an aging pop­u­la­tion with an already high pro­por­tion of elder­ly peo­ple, and that puts it on track to have the fastest grow­ing num­ber of preva­lent cas­es of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease.

Whole towns have already begun to struc­ture their ser­vices around a grow­ing num­ber of cit­i­zens with demen­tia. But demen­tia itself remains “wide­ly mis­un­der­stood,” says Restau­rant of Mis­tak­en Orders pro­duc­er Shi­ro Ogu­ni in the “con­cept movie” at the top of the post. “Peo­ple believe you can’t do any­thing for your­self, and the con­di­tion will often mean iso­la­tion from soci­ety. We want to change soci­ety to become more easy-going so, demen­tia or no demen­tia, we can live togeth­er in har­mo­ny.”

You can see more of the Restau­rant of Mis­tak­en Orders in last year’s “report movie” just above, which shows its team of servers with demen­tia in action. Some shown are in mid­dle age, some are in their tenth decade of life, but all seem to have a knack for build­ing rap­port with their cus­tomers — a skill that any­one who has ever worked front-of-the-house in a restau­rant will agree is essen­tial, espe­cial­ly when mis­takes hap­pen. We see them deliv­er orders both cor­rect and incor­rect, but the din­ers seem to enjoy the expe­ri­ence either way: “37% of our orders were mis­tak­en,” the restau­rant reports, “but 99% of our cus­tomers said they were hap­py.” This con­tains anoth­er truth about Japan­ese food cul­ture that any­one who has eat­en in Japan will acknowl­edge: what­ev­er you order, the chance of its being deli­cious is approx­i­mate­ly 100%.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent;

The French Vil­lage Designed to Pro­mote the Well-Being of Alzheimer’s Patients: A Visu­al Intro­duc­tion to the Pio­neer­ing Exper­i­ment

In Touch­ing Video, Peo­ple with Alzheimer’s Tell Us Which Mem­o­ries They Nev­er Want to For­get

How Music Can Awak­en Patients with Alzheimer’s and Demen­tia

Demen­tia Patients Find Some Eter­nal Youth in the Sounds of AC/DC

In Japan­ese Schools, Lunch Is As Much About Learn­ing As It’s About Eat­ing

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (18)
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  • Tracey says:

    Great ini­tia­tive, and a whole new lev­el of accep­tance for peo­ple with demen­tia.

  • janet says:

    love this con­cept

  • King Siong Lee says:

    Great ini­tia­tive to teach and encour­age soci­ety to love and sup­port one anoth­er, regard­less of our frail­ties and short­com­ings. Hope this mod­el will be used in more places in the world.

  • Don Gibson says:

    This is a great idea, not just to show soci­ety that peo­ple with demen­tia need love, care and accep­tance but I would think giv­ing them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to use the men­tal and phys­i­cal skills they have might help to slow the pro­gres­sion of their demen­tia.

  • azteclady says:

    A love­ly way to spread empa­thy.

  • Otis Wong says:

    This is so whole­some. I want to see who was the 1% that was not hap­py LOL

  • Alma Delucchi says:

    If we keep liv­ing that’s the next step. Since we are all on our way to YKW, death is the only way to avoid this step. You may want to try veg­e­tar­i­an meals and ditch all meds.

  • Robert Goldin says:

    Won­der­ful and mov­ing.

  • Martin Harsono says:

    A very Noble Enter­prise that is 100% INSPIRATIONAL. The Restau­rant looks Gor­geous, the Food looks Deli­cious, the Wait­per­sons Smart ‘n Hap­py — as are the Cus­tomers. I watched both the First and Sec­ond Videos with tears in my eyes — enjoy­ing them both enor­mous­ly. This heart­warm­ing sto­ry has restored my faith in Human Kind­ness. Next time I vis­it my 98 year old Moth­er in Indone­sia, I shall show her the video to inspire her. Bra­vo! And Thank You ALL!

  • judy wilson says:

    I think that is VERY sweet.…..Hope all the orders are the same price1 : )

  • Ele kawamura says:

    How absolute­ly pre­cious and heart warm­ing. Brought tears to my eyes!!! Must share this.

  • Betty Takata says:

    Beau­ti­ful sto­ry of com­pas­sion!
    Mahalo/Thank you4 shar­ing.

  • Mary Anne says:

    So true, I’m also curi­ous who is the 1%unhappy per­son, lol☺️🤔 This is such a great lov­ing com­pas­sion­ate idea. Where is this in Japan, I want to go and vis­it! We all need this these days, to be hum­ble, appre­cia­tive of our elders and most of all to give back to them. God bless!

  • Byron Bader says:

    You could be next and would­n’t this kind of action be wel­comed by the fam­i­ly of the per­son with demen­tia to know there’s a path to keep liv­ing “life” in a car­ing way by peo­ple who care. I com­mend Japan for plac­ing action on this very com­mon trait of life.

  • Sherry says:

    Amer­i­ca needs restau­rants like this, full of laugh­ter and cama­raderie.

  • Dale Matteo says:

    I have read your blog. You have giv­en good infor­ma­tion. Hard­ees has been around since 1961, and it has grown into one of the biggest ham­burg­er chains in the coun­try. The menu at Hardee’s is always chang­ing to keep up with cus­tomers’ tastes. Today we’re going to talk about all the deli­cious items on their menu that you can’t resist!

  • Dou_ says:

    Good to know.

  • Katherine Bhana says:

    Send­ing prayers and sup­port. My moth­er who had been diag­nosed with Demen­tia for 3 years at the age of 82 had all her symp­toms reversed with Ayurve­da med­i­cine from nat­ur­al herbs cen­tre after under­go­ing their Demen­tia Ayurvedic pro­to­col, she’s now able to com­pre­hend what is seen. God Bless all Demen­tia dis­ease Care­givers. Stay Strong, take small moments through­out the day to thank your­self, to love your self, and pray to what­ev­er faith, star, spir­i­tu­al force you believe in and ask for strength, seek out nat­u­ral­herb­s­cen­tre. com i can per­son­al­ly vouch for these rem­e­dy but you would prob­a­bly need to decide what works best for you

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