Restaurant Of Mistaken Ordersmistakenordersservice2

The restaurant industry is all about value and quality. Even in fast food joints, some customers will analyse the standard of their fried chicken with the same discerning opinions as a Michelin Inspector deciding if a top chef deserves star number 2.

But a few years back in Japan, something truly unique happened: the ‘Restaurant of Mistaken Orders’ opened up.

Restaurant Of Mistaken Ordersmistakenordersfront

Shiro Oguni

Conceived by Tokyo local Shiro Oguni and crowdfunded by the community, this pop-up eatery wasn’t just about culinary quirks, but is instead part of a bigger movement to redefine how we view the elderly and, specifically, those with illnesses like dementia.

Shiro Oguni was the mastermind behind this concept, who got a wave of inspiration after a visit to a group home for people with dementia. 

During the visit, he realised that despite the forgetfulness that comes with dementia, these individuals can still cook, clean, and complete everyday tasks, and they deserved to still have a place in society.

Restaurant Of Mistaken Ordersmistakenordersserver

Shared Joy

Now usually, you order a juicy hamburger and get a plate of gyoza instead: you’re liable to politely complain at the very best.

But what’s was heartwarming about ‘The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders’ is that the whole place came with a totally different vibe: it’s all about taking whatever comes your way - quite literally - and just being happy with it.

It's not about perfection; it was about the real, genuine connections happening with the staff who served up the experience.

Often, people would just laugh off the mistakes, creating a really nice atmosphere that - most importantly of all - made the staff feel valued and loved despite their challenges.

To make sure the relaxed environment extends to behind the scenes too, the restaurant had social welfare workers who kept things running smoothly and contributed to the overall experience.

Restaurant Of Mistaken Ordersmistakenordersservice

“Cool Japan”

For those that don’t know, there’s a movement called "Cool Japan", a part of the country’s strategy to remain appealing and, well, ‘cool’ to outsiders.

As you’d imagine, the movement focuses on promoting all of the things that the wider world considers cool about Japan.

But the founder of The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders believes in "Warm Japan", too. Through cultivating tolerance, the ‘Restaurant of Mistaken Orders’ aimed to rewrite the script and focus on the kind and warm side of Japanese culture.

When we talk about inclusion and diversity, we more often than not talk about key topics such as race and sexual orientation, but the elderly and the topic of ageism - as well as all of the physical and mental challenges that can come with it - often aren’t the focus of our attention.

Restaurant Of Mistaken Ordersmistakenordersburger

A Lesson in Experience

All in all, 'The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders' is a blueprint for designing experiences that go beyond great interior design and innovation on the menu; experiences that have a bigger purpose and meaning leave a lasting impact on people and will always win the hearts of your customers.

We’re not saying you have to be aligned to a bigger societal goal, but thinking about what’s really important to your audience - whether they tend to think about it in context of a restaurant or not - and putting that at the centre of your experience design is a surefire way to win people over and build a brand that people come back to time and time again.

New 2024 Restaurant and Bar Design Trends report: click here to download now.

Background 03