Customers at DEBU-CHAN, a ramen restaurant located in Tokyo’s fiercely competitive “ramen battlefield,” are no longer allowed to watch videos on their phones while dining.
The restaurant’s owner, Kota Kai, introduced this new rule last month after he observed that customers who watched videos took longer to start eating. While he understands that some customers do not intend to spoil their meal, Kai explained that his restaurant’s thin, one-millimeter-wide noodles can quickly become soggy.
Even a short video watched before starting to eat could negatively affect the taste of the noodles. According to SoraNews24, Kai said, “It’s painful for me to see the ramen that I put my soul into making get ruined right before my eyes.”
The Hakata ramen served at DEBU-CHAN, which originated in western Japan’s Hakata prefecture, is designed for people who are in a hurry to eat. This implies that the noodles are meant to be consumed immediately after being served, as reported by CNN.
The ban on watching videos while dining at DEBU-CHAN, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, is not only aimed at preventing customers from ruining the taste of their ramen by letting it go soggy, but also to speed up the process of eating and make way for other waiting customers. Due to the competitive restaurant landscape in Takadanobaba, the area where the restaurant is located, the establishment has only 33 seats and often has a queue outside.
— にくきゅー (@neko29q_sol) March 18, 2023
Instead of posting signs, the owner, Kota Kai, prefers to speak directly to customers when he sees them staring at their smartphones instead of eating. While many Twitter users supported the decision, others argued that it is up to the diners to decide how they use their phones and that customers should take responsibility for preventing their noodles from becoming soggy. Kai clarified that taking photos of the food is allowed, but watching videos while dining is not acceptable.