The most impressive startup project in 2017
It may be a little bit early to decide which startup or venture project amazed me most this year, but there is 1 that I really really want to introduce to you.
On September 16, a new type of restaurant was opened as a challenge in Roppongi, Tokyo only for 3 days and it drew public attention.
The name of the restaurant is
“The Restaurant of Order Mistakes” (Chumon Wo Machigaeru Ryoriya)
Every waiter has dementia
The reason why this project (restaurant) was very much in the public eye was that every waiter (waitress) working for the restaurant has dementia.
Hence, not only mightn’t you be able to get what you ordered, but your order may also be forgotten by them (Nice!).
During the 3 days, 300 people came to the restaurant (some people even came from Kyoto just for this).
However, some customers were a little disappointed inasmuch as the senior waiters were able to deliver meals correctly, meaning they wanted their orders to be mistaken or forgotten (Nice!).
You can see how the restaurant looked like and what was going on in the article written by Mamoru Ichikawa, a healthcare journalist (you can read the full article here), but I’d also like to introduce his article here.
“The Restaurant of Order Mistakes” opens!!
“You could see the waitresses in a serious huddle before the restaurant opens.”
“The first customers arrive for the day. The waitress showed them to their table and soon asked for their orders.”
“Oh no, a small trouble. Probably nervous, Aiko couldn’t figure out why she came to the table.”
“Looking at a seemingly confused her, the customers immediately gave a hand and asked, “Didn’t you come to take an order?” She is saved!”
“Serving salads without any problem…”
“See, seasoning is a piece of cake! Maybe her memory of working in the after-school is coming back.”
Source: Mamoru Ichikawa (Healthcare journalist), “Aspirations of a Restaurant that “Forgets” Orders“
Interview 1 ~ before working ~
Mr. Mamoru Ichikawa also got permission to have an interview with one of the waitresses. Actually, she said her name was a secret, so he decided to call her “Aiko (alias)”.
Q: Why did you decide to participate in this occasion?
【Aiko】“Before, I used to work in an after-school for a long time. I’m used to serving food to children, so I thought I might be able to do this.”
Q: You are used to serving; so are you confident, today?
【Aiko】“Oh no, I’m nervous. Will I be able to take orders? Won’t I spill the food when I bring it to the table?… I worry that I might make mistakes and cause trouble.”
Interview 2 ~ after working ~
Ｑ: Before, you were saying that you were nervous. Having actually served the customers, how does it feel?
“Oh, it didn’t go well.
It’s totally different from after-schools.
In after-schools, the children just gathered and I just served them in one go.
But, sure, doing something new is great. I somehow feel excited.”
How did the founder come up with this idea?
Also, a pre-event was held last June. As you can tell, none of them got frustrated by their slow service. Everybody smiled broadly.
Then, they succeeded in collecting a capital of ¥12,000,000 through crowdfunding, which was much larger than they’d expected.
However, what was the founder’s aim of this project?
He saw everyone (seniors) doing whatever they could manage on their own like cleaning, shopping, cooking, doing the laundry, etc.
Since he was making a documentary on the group home, he sometimes had meals that the elderly people cooked.
One day, he was supposed to be delivered a hamburger steak for lunch, but what the seniors mistakingly cooked and served was a dumpling.
He was about to say, “isn’t today’s lunch a hamburger steak, it is?” , but he swallowed back the words.
Every day, unexpected incidents and mistakes were naturally solved by people’s understanding. Not only caretakers at the institution, but local people also were kindly accepting their mistakes.
He realized that if we became more tolerant, a number of issues would be solved just like the people there had done.
‘It ended up being a gyoza, but it’s okay, isn’t it?’
A lot of news media broadcasted special programs on the restaurant.
Furthermore, they’ve received a whole bunch of inquiries from both domestic and overseas institutions, as the project created a great sensation.
Just like the previous project, they achieved a great success.
These meaningful activities must’ve made people realize how we should work on the future challenge with the aging population.
The future of Japan
In 2018, 1 in 3 Japanese women will be over 65 years old.
In 2020, 50% of Japanese women will be over 50 years old.
In 2024, Japan will have the world’s highest proportion of senior citizens ever in history. (1 out of 3 Japanese people will be over 65 years old)
In 2026, the number of seniors having dementia will exceed 7 million.
My family has taken care of her on our own for many years and my parents and I are helping each other.
Even so, I believe that we’ve learnt a lot of things from her and I simply want to support her in return for her deep affection for me.
Therefore, I feel like “The Restaurant of Order Mistakes” project let us make sure what my family has done for my grandmother is just right.
Hence, I consider the project to be this year’s most impressive and meaningful startup project.