In Tokyo, there is a restaurant where customers are NOT mad at bad service.
You ask for dumplings, and you get miso soup. You ordered sushi, you might get grilled fish.
All of the waiters and waitresses have dementia and it is the primary qualification for the job.
The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders, is a recurring pop-up as a means to broaden the public’s awareness of dementia.
Dementia is a general term describing decline in memory, learning and communication skills. It’s caused by a number of different conditions, one of them being Alzheimer’s.
Japanese television director, Shiro Oguni, created it to change perceptions about aging and progressive cognitive impairment.
The first event was organized in 2017 and has been regularly repeated.
The idea for his project came to him when he was served a dumpling instead of a burger while visiting a nursing home. He started to send the dumpling back, but then he realized he was in a different world, with varying levels of functionality, including mistakes that didn’t harm him.
Why not just accept what he received as a way of respecting the difficulties the people around him faced, as an act of kindness and humility?
The idea has inspired others in South Korea and Australia. But it’s not a snap, requiring around $115,000 US, raised through crowd-funding. And because it needs a lot of planning and teamwork it requires teamwork from;
- restaurant professionals
- interior designers
- social welfare workers
- cooperation of organizations helping those with dementia
The program’s website encourages and offers contact information to anyone who wants to try a similar event anywhere in the world.
Diners over and over have described the experience as overwhelmingly positive.
I’m not crying –you’re crying!