Article: “Japan’s Restaurant Giants are California Dreaming” (Mar.2004)

excerpt:
Global-Dining, with US operations based in West Hollywood, has been testing the waters for years with its restaurants in fashionable areas of Los Angeles. It has operated a Monsoon Cafe for several years on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, a beachside area featuring several blocks of bars and restaurants. Meanwhile, it has also operated a La Boheme Cafe in West Hollywood.

These earlier forays have not fared as well as hoped. Global-Dining has struggled to export its brand of quality service. "The service is very good in Japan. Over here, it's not. We want to bring a whole team effort concept over," says Nile Park, chief operating officer of Global-Dining Inc. USA.

In 2000, a restaurant reviewer at the Los Angeles Times newspaper criticized the "too attentive" service at La Boheme Cafe. "Someone wanted to pour more water into untouched water glasses every few minutes. Our wine was assiduously topped up in half-inch increments," the reviewer wrote. "And we must have been asked a dozen times how we liked the meal, or if everything was prepared to our liking." The restaurant's disappointing performance, the reviewer suggested, had more to do with overzealous service and its frequent changes in chefs.

source: "Japan's Restaurant Giants are California Dreaming" by Michael Thuresson (J@panInc, Mar.2004)

WaiterBell Angle: The article goes on to detail how these Japanese companies will deal with the service culture challenges in their U.S. expansion. Differences in restaurant culture can be effectively handled by being able to adapt to customer's expectation. WaiterBell helps your waitstaff adapt and provide the right amount of attention to the customer.

If the waitstaff is "too attentive", then customers can ask for more privacy and opt to use WaiterBell to signal for assistance. If the waitstaff provides the customers with too much space, then WaiterBell is used to alert the waitstaff. WaiterBell helps make communication between the customer and waitstaff easier.

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