Café Gives Solo Diners Stuffed Toys for Company
There are no “lonely tables set for one” at Tokyo, Japan’s The Moomin Café. As a strategy to get rid o the dilemma of eating out alone, part of the café’s standard restaurant equipment are life-size and adorably cute Moomin stuffed toys that solo customers can get as table partners.
Lone diners can enjoy the endearing (albeit quiet) companionship of a Moomin plush date while they have their meal. With a Moomin stuffed toy for company, diners do not have to feel weird about dining in their lonesome. They also have the benefit of a listening ear, as long as they can be content with the one-sided conversations.
The Japanese café incorporates the characters in their restaurant in their food, from Moomin-shaped cookies and cakes, noodles with Moomin-shaped toppings, coffee with Moomin designs and recently, stuffed-toy dates. Restaurant décor (wallpapers, nick-nacks, etc.) also go with the theme. As customers enter the café, a Moomin mascot greets them at the door. The staff offers a selection of large Moomin plush toys for those who desire to dine with a much-loved character.
Moomin and Social Media
The themed café is based on a Swedish-Finnish children’s book series by illustrator and writer Tove Jansson, The Moomins. The book series is about the adventures of hippopotamus-like characters that live in Moominvalley. Some of the more popular characters include Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma, Sniff, Snufkin, Hattifatteners or Snork Maiden.
The book series is composed of 9 books and eventually spun off into a popular cartoon series in the 90s. There is also a Moomin theme park in Naantali, Finland.
The Japanese penchant for all things “kawaii” or “cute” has proven to be a hit as shown by the growing popularity of the café. Guests visit the café for the novel experience and spread the word through social media. The café has also grown a sizable internet following.
The novelty of themed cafes and restaurants
The idea of having no one who will attempt to swipe your dessert has proven effective, as this concept may soon be exported to a New York-based Moomin Cafe. This illustrates that restaurants do not only compose of having the right food and restaurant equipment, it also needs to present customers with a strong and engaging concept.
The Moomin Café is just one of the themed cafes that has caught the fancy of customers. Offering something novel and interesting can be a great marketing tool. Some examples include a lavatory-themed café in Shanghai where customers get to sit on a porcelain toilet as they eat, or the hospital themed café in Latvia where waitresses dressed as nurses serve “hospital food” to customers who are fitted with straitjackets. There is also a cat café in London where cats laze about while diners eat.