Taiwan has opened a Barbie-themed restaurant in Taipei called the Barbie Cafe — featuring pink decor and waitresses decked out in tutus and tiaras.
US toy company Mattel has licensed Taiwan restaurant group Sinlaku, allowing them to open the new Barbie Cafe. Mattel aspires to promote and expand Barbie as a fashion brand through this Barbie-themed dining establishment.
"We picked Taiwan because theme restaurants are very popular and successful here. We are very confident that the Barbie Cafe can promote our brand image," said Iggy Yip, a senior manager in Mattel's consumer products division in Greater China.
The Barbie Cafe is the first Barbie-themed restaurant in the world. The menu was created by professional nutritionists and includes calorie counts for each item. Culinary choices include hazelnut tiramisu, colorful macaroon cookies served in martini classes, Philadelphia steak salad, salmon beauty salad, an ornate Barbie cake and the Barbie 128, a pink beverage named for the address of the eatery.
The restaurant decor is done in shades of pink, of course. Walls are adorned with Barbie illustrations, and chairs feature tutu skirts and red corset lacing. There's even a life-size Barbie "box" for customers who want to feel like a real-live doll.
Female servers at the Barbie Cafe are decked out in pink outfits complete with tutus and tiaras. Male servers are dressed to look like Barbie's long-term boyfriend, Ken — a slightly more difficult look to achieve.
So far, customers like Taipei office worker Jessica Ho (and her five-year-old daughter) are raving about the new restaurant.
"My child and I both love Barbie and this lovely and cute place is like a dream come true for us. I will take her here to celebrate her next birthday," she said.
Not everyone is pleased with the launch of the Barbie Cafe. Some are adamantly opposed, including Rhiannon Williams, editor of the feminist website The Vagenda Magazine.
Rhiannon Williams, editor of feminist website The Vagenda Magazine, expressed her adamant distaste for the Barbie Cafe.
“I cannot imagine anything less pleasant and more nausea-inducing than a Barbie themed restaurant. Not only because I prefer low-impact environments and none of the major food groups are pink for a reason, but also because Barbie is an outdated model of stereotypical femininity and needs to die a death," said Williams.
For cutesy theme-restaurant lovers, there is also a Hello Kitty theme restaurant in Taipei, opened five years ago. The Hello Kitty Junkie blog profiled this establishment with plenty of pictures of the decor and menu items.
The Sinlaku group is planning to launch a second Barbie Cafe in Taichung and a third in Shanghai, according to Chinatimes.