This Tokyo restaurant is beating the coronavirus blues with cheerleaders who chant to motionless mannequins in order to lift their diners’ spirits.
We knew things would be different when we emerged from a period of unprecedented change in the restaurant industry, and we’ve seen all manner of novel ideas to aid social distancing and protect customers and staff in restaurants. But even in the darkest days of the coronavirus crisis, we never envisioned this.
To three-Michelin-star restaurant The Inn at Little Washington, who used retro mannequins to fill the spaces created by social distancing rules, we said 'fair enough'. But trust Tokyo to see your mannequins and raise you cheerleaders, and then add karaoke for effect.
Arata Funabara, the owner of Cheers One in the Ginza district, said that they tried placing stickers on tables to aid social distancing, but he thought they made the café look dreary. So they decided to use mannequins. As the café is not open at full scale, it is quite empty, so they decided to “add more excitement” with mannequins to bolster the crowd for their cheerleading waitresses.
The waitresses perform karaoke on request and are equipped with face masks, gloves and pom-poms.
Is this the answer to restaurant reopening? No. We’re pretty sure you won’t find it in your local regular, but it is a wonderfully bizarre construct, unique to our times, found only in Tokyo.