Would you go to a restaurant with a one-in-three chance of getting your order wrong?

Probably not, like most of us you’d be upset.

You’re paying good money to dine out, you want good food, you want it reasonably quickly, and you want exactly what you asked for.

So how come there’s a really popular restaurant in Japan that reports 37% of orders were wrong but 99% of customers were happy?

It’s a restaurant that’s staffed by people with dementia and it’s called: THE RESTAURANT OF MISTAKEN ORDERS.  (In the logo, the letter K is lying on its side.)

You wouldn’t be surprised at getting the wrong order here because that’s the name of the restaurant, in fact that’s why people go there.

You don’t go for Michelin-starred service, you go because you’re a kind person.

You go because you want to make people with cognitive disorders feel they can still be part of the community by participating.

Of course you’ll get good food, that’s cooked in the kitchen by top chefs.

But the serving staff are all people with dementia and the restaurant depends on customers accepting this and interacting with them.

2 out of 3 people with dementia live at home alone, in isolation which makes it worse.

Most of the staff here are elderly ladies who say that working here gives their lives purpose.

One customer, on finding her waitress was 90, asked if she could take a selfie with her to show her own 90 year-old mother how active she could be if she made an effort.

The 90 year-old waitress was thrilled and proud of course.

The customers and staff laugh together as one of the waitresses can’t remember the name of the dish she’s bringing.

Another waitress thanks the customers for kindly helping her write the order correctly.

A customer helps a waitress grind the pepper over the correct dish.

One waitress brings gyoza dumplings instead of hamburger, the customer assures her it’s a nice surprise.

Another waitress brings a cup of hot coffee with a straw, she apologises but the customer laughs with her.

One lady forgets she is a waitress and sits down at the customers’ table.

The customers say the main reasons they come to this restaurant is the atmosphere.

Above everything, the mood and the atmosphere is charming.

Everyone is kind and friendly and helpful, and the diners feel good about themselves, there are no selfish, impatient customers here.

And it’s a great lesson that the product isn’t always the most important thing.

The product is good food, but you can get that at any decent restaurant.

What makes this one different is spelled out in the name, and not everyone would want it.

But the lesson for us is that not everyone needs to want what we’re selling.

If we try to make something everyone wants, we’ll end up bland and ordinary.

By turning a problem into an opportunity, and being proud of it, we become different with a unique identity.

Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, we allow people to make an active choice, we’re not just another commodity purchase.

This restaurant asks the customers to participate the same way the waiting-staff with dementia participate.

For the right customers it becomes an interaction not just a delivery of goods.

Like the best advertising, they stop worrying about who they’re turning off and concentrate on who they’re turning on.