Maid cafes are coming back in a big way.
One of the characteristic businesses of otaku districts such as Akihabara is the maid cafe in which staff dress in French maid uniforms and cater to guests’ every need using the most polite and courteous language possible. Obviously it’s very much a service-driven industry that relies on human interaction, something that’s been hard to pull off in recent years.
One of Japan’s biggest maid cafe chains, @Home Cafe, has also proved to be among its most resourceful too. Over the past two years, they’ve tried everything possible to continue providing their service while also obeying restrictions, such as by setting up their own virtual cafes in 2020.
▼ The entrance to one of @Home Cafe’s six locations in Akihabara.
And now it seems they have weathered the worst of it and are seeing guests coming back in pre-pandemic numbers. In fact, business has been so good, they will be expanding next February.
This new @Home Cafe on the 5th floor of the Akiba Cultures Zone with be the chain’s ninth and largest location ever, becoming their flagship store in the process. This sprawling cafe will be divided into two main sections on the same floor, with a general reception desk to help guests navigate it all.
The main areas will be set up in a theatre style with an LED-screen-equipped stage for various shows to be held.
The interior is decorated in the chain’s typical moe style, and its ambitious size is undoubtedly in preparation for when tourists will return to the area and fill the halls.
Prior to the COIVD-19 pandemic, @Home Cafe saw about 10,000 customers each month, both domestic and international. That number dropped by about 80 percent at the worst, but it appears the company has regained much of its domestic business recently.
This new location will also have an expanded version of its popular @Home Shop souvenir section. It will most likely carry the same items such as postcards, CDs, and headshots of their more popular maids, but possibly with some additional original merch as well.
It’s certainly an encouraging sign to see @Home Cafe take exhibit such growth these days, and hopefully it works out for them, especially during a time where it seems like iconic Akihabara businesses are closing their doors left and right.
I just hope they have someone who can clean up such a large venue, maybe some kind of housekeeper or attendant?
@Home Cafe Akiba Culture Branch / あっとほぉーむカフェAKIBAカルチャーズ店
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 1-7-6 Akiba Cultures Zone 5F
東京都千代田区外神田1-7-6 AKIBAカルチャーズZONE 5F
Tentative opening: February, 2022
Source, images: PR Times
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