Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Children's cafe

Today we went to an amazing cafe. What was amazing about it was that it was run by children aged between 4 and 7 years old. Of course there was lots of adult support, but in general the children were responsible for taking the orders, putting together the orders, delivering the food etc. and they all did an amazing job. This is the first year that this cafe has been run in Oita and it looks like it was a huge success. No one will make a monetary profit though, in fact chances are there will be a financial loss at the end of it. All the participants were volunteers and most of the produce etc. was donated. The big profit made out of this cafe will hopefully be a change in the attitude towards restaurants in the children who participated.
The cafe concept was started by a mother who was refused entry into a number of restaurants because she had children with her. After observing the behavior of children in Japanese restaurants I don't blame the owners of "nice" restaurants for doing this. In general it is often hard to remember you are actually in a restaurant and not in a zoo. Her idea was that if she could show the children what is involved in preparing food, presenting food and delivering food to customers they would be more respectful and really enjoy restaurant experiences rather than thinking of them simply as a place to eat. Their attitudes will hopefully then rub off on their friends etc. and restaurant owners will then allow children back into their restaurants - allowing families to eat at really nice restaurants, rather than just "family restaurants". Last year the cafe was run in Fukuoka and it appears it was a great success there too. Some of the children even started running their own "cafes" in their own houses and inviting friends etc. to come. Remember the participants are all only 4-7 years old!
It is a wonderful concept that will hopefully gain more and more support and become not just a one off "5 day cafe", but an annual event.


  1. What an interesting concept! I wonder, though, if it will have the desired effect... presumably, it's really only the children who work in the cafe who will learn to be appreciative and respectful, so perhaps ALL children should be able to experience this! Now there's an idea, what a great 'workshop' for the nations kindergarten/hoikusho!

  2. Wow that sounds amazing- what a wonderful idea.

    The children who participated must be very proud of themselves.

  3. What a great idea!! Pitty we can't get out kids to pretend being parents so they know how hard that is too!