マッキー牧元(まっきー まきもと) タベアルキスト、 (株)味の手帖 取締役編集顧問。料理評論から人物インタビュー、紀行記事の他、料理開発も行う。「味の手帖」「銀座百店」「料理王国」「東京カレンダー」「食楽」など、連載多数。“Mackey” Makimoto Active as a food critic, interview host, travel writer, and menu development specialist.He has numerous publications in “The Gourmet’s Handbook,” “5- star Dining” (Ginza Hyakuten), “Cuisine Kingdom,” “Tokyo Calendar,”and “The Leisurely Epicurean” (Shoku-raku) among others.He has written several books, including “Eating Well in Tokyo” and “The Dos and Don’ts of Hotpot Night.”

主な著書に、『東京 食のお作法』文芸春秋刊、『間違いだらけの鍋奉行』講談社刊、『ポテサラ酒場』辰巳出版(監修)ほか。

「三越伊勢丹 もてなしの教室」第二回目の話し手は、タベアルキストのマッキー牧元さんです。『東京・食のお作法』『間違いだらけの鍋奉行』など“食べること”をテーマにした本の著者であり、食通のための月刊誌

We’d like to welcome professional foodie “Mackey” Makimoto as the host of our second installment of Mitsukoshi Isetan’s Hospitality Lessons. He’s here as the author of the books “Eating Well in Tokyo,” and “The Dos and Don’ts of Hotpot


Night,” and advisor to the editing board of food magazine “The Gourmet’s Handbook” to give us some insight on good service. As someone who eats out over 500 times a year he really is a consummate expert when it comes to being served.



Lessons in service from the man who makes a living being served.

When you hear the word service you naturally envision kind of a one-way street, right? I think it works best when there’s more of an exchange taking place. When I go out to eat I try to give the staff a little bit of entertainment too. I want them to have a good time, because in the end, when they’re having fun I’m usually having fun too. When both the server and the person being served


are putting in a good effort I think a really special experience can emerge. As a professional foodie, the restaurant is my workplace and restaurants, as you know, have a lot to offer. But really, to me, the most important thing is making connections. We grow closer to our dining companion, and yes even to the people serving us, through food. It deepens and strengthens our relationships. Food is a mediator and service is the glue that binds everything together. I like to say that you don’t just go out to eat good food, you go out to eat good food well..


“Mackey” Makimoto on good service:



“Know your food.”

A restaurant, and by extension, its staff, needs to know the food. I believe that this is really fundamental to good service. As a customer I want to hear them dish about the dish. The history of it, how it came to be, and why they’ve included it in their menu. I want to see passion too, see that they really love the food. When I see that I feel confident when I say, “I’ll try that tonight.” A restaurant’s reason for being is the food. But the way they present it to us? That’s service.That’s hospitality.

“Be passionate.”

When you go out to eat you’re always greeted by a smiling waiter,right? The cynic inside us will say, sure that’s their job. Of course they’re smiling. Well, that’s true, but I think there are those whose genuine, heartfelt smiles shine through. They know the food, they love their restaurant, and they can wear that free and easy smile because they know that once you try the food you’ll love it as much as they do. They feel good knowing that you’ll feel good, and it shows. When you find a place like that you’ll want to go again and again.

“It feels good to be remembered.”

I think the thing that most delights a customer is simply being remembered. Of course remembering your name is important, but remembering your order is equally so. And that’s just the start. Places that go the extra mile to provide first class service will remember your favorite dishes. They’ll remember your birthday. They’ll remember your favorite sake and even your pet’s name. As a customer, that makes us feel really good. It lets us know that we’re appreciated and that’s how regulars are born



“Treat every moment as if it were special.”

In Japan we have the expected formalities like “Thank you for your business” or “Please come again” that are spoken when interacting with a customer but I think we’re missing some of that practiced familiarity that’s more common in the west where you might be welcomed as an old friend even upon your first visit to a restaurant.Your wine choice might be met with an “Ahh, perfect,” and your entrée selection with “An excellent choice,” almost as if they expected nothing less, being a long-time friend. That atmosphere of settling down for a meal with a friend really makes everything taste and feel better. A little bit of that personal touch can turn an ordinary moment into a memorable experience..

“A flexible menu is a good menu.”

There’s this little Syrian restaurant tucked away between Shibuya and Aoyama called Don Cicco that’s packed full of lively and boisterous regulars every night. Every time I go I take a quick look at the menu then close it right up again. I ask what else they’re cooking up that day and they’ll give me a rundown of what’s on special, what’s being prepared with new or different ingredients, and what they recommend. Drinks pretty much work the same way. I usually get the all-you-can-drink special for which there’s no menu of course. They’ll bring out delicious wine after delicious wine with great fanfare, I just leave it up to them. Like I said before, I don’t just go out to eat good food, I go out to eat good food well. And that interplay, that interaction with the staff at a place like Don Cicco make for a great atmosphere, and that atmosphere in and of itself is a large part of hospitality.









“Mackey” Makimoto on bad service:



“There’s no checklist for good service.”

There’s no manual available for achieving perfect service. Each restaurant has its own unique character and the way that uniqueness is leveraged to provide service to each individual guest is what really sets them apart. Embracing their character and adapting that to create an environment of hospitality allows them to provide service beyond what might be written in any manual. On the other hand, there are certain things that need to be done to fix a mistake. Just apologizing isn’t enough. The customer is deciding to spend their precious time and money at your establishment so instead of just apologizing, staff should be asking for a second chance to make things right. Or better than right.



“Being forgotten or ignored.”

We’ve all been at a sushi restaurant and seen the sushi master yelling at his apprentice, right? How does that make you feel? It makes me feel terrible. Yelling and enjoying a meal don’t mix! It also makes me feel like I’m being ignored, even subconsciously. If the chef is paying more attention to scolding his apprentices than serving the customer, then what else might he be overlooking? I feel the same way when I’m asked, “What kind of wine do you like?” Like, I know a bit about wine, but what customer is going to know more than the sommelier? You’re put in a position of inferiority right from the outset. The customer should always be made to feel at ease, not as if they’re about to take a pop quiz. These forms of ignoring the customer’s needs are a real antithesis to good service.hospitality.


“Mackey” Makimoto recommends restaurants with world-class service:






Home of the goddess of hospitality herself, Kiyoko-san.Morisei (Osaka – Umeda)

The smoothest waiters with the fastest service in all of Japan.Elio Locanda Italiana (Tokyo – Hanzomon)

Staff who really embody what it means to be passionate about their establishment’s food and some of the best dish descriptions you’ll hear outside a Michelin Guide.Cote d’Or (Tokyo – Mita)

The proprietor Madam Harada’s first love is wine and food and her cheese descriptions are without rival.Bouquet de France (Tokyo – Roppongi)

150 of the best Chinese dishes you’ll ever eat served by the best surrogate mother you’ll ever have.Minmin (Tokyo – Akasaka)


Some thoughts from Mitsukoshi Isetan staff after hearing Mr. Matsuura speak:


“Makimoto-san’s words, “The service you provide can only go as far as the raw materials of experience, character, and hard work will take you,” really left an impression on me. I feel inspired to work harder, get stronger, and build up my experience so that I become known for my excellent service.(Food & Restaurant Department)


His point about how open exchange with customers is vital to the growth of a restaurant is one that I know to be true from personal experience. Customer opinions and requests are an endlessly valuable resource that should be wholeheartedly embraced by any restaurant looking to improve, not only in the service arena.(Food & Restaurant Department)


I really took to heart what he said about loving your own food. I try to always keep in mind just why I feel that way about my product when interacting with customers. I like to observe my customers as well, like he said. The more I learn the more easily I’ll be able to connect with them and serve them on a personal level.(Home & Interior Design Department)


“Service is observation.” “Truly good service requires a dash of humor and a pinch of imagination.” These words of wisdom by Makimoto-san left a deep impression on me. I think that through observation an establishment should strive to be an ideal fit for the needs of a customer. This, in the end, will determine whether the interaction with a customer ends after a single visit or if it will deepen into the regular customer relationship we all cherish. It all ties in to the “making the moment special” that he emphasized.(Food & Restaurant Department)


I feel like I view customers in a new light after listening to Makimoko-san talk. His point about service not being a one-way street, but rather a mutually beneficial interaction that leads to an establishment with an open and enjoyable atmosphere, really struck home. I want my restaurant to be a place where customers feel at home. Where they can kick back and relax with familiar faces and forget for a time whatever burdens they may be carrying in life.(Food & Restaurant Department)