5 Korean Tips To Improve French Restaurants

In Paris, franchised restaurants, posh establishments and very small food shops are doing well.

However medium sized independent restaurants are not in good shape in my opinion. They are not expensive but not cheap, food is good but not extraordinary, tables are sometimes empty and service is slow.

Here are 5 tips from Korean restaurants to inspire our French ones.

[Cet article est disponible en français]

A Menu That Calls You

The offer must be clear and invite the consumer to spend some time and money here.

Too many time the price column is more used than meals descriptions. What a shame.

By the way the menu should be written in as many languages as possible and with illustrations.

Tourists are ready to eat french food if they are able to order. Otherwise they’ll go to international franchises they know.

In general the style and image of the restaurant must be refined :

The “2ème café” at Seoul offers meals a little expensive but not that much. Hence because of a refined design the customer do not only look at the price but also the place.

There is a very developed practice in Korea that maybe to much for us : fake meals in front of the restaurant.

Impressive with realism.


Waiter On Demand

The worst in Paris is waiting for the waiter. The name is explicit enough.

Ones wait for being installed, for bread, water, menu, ordering, paying…

The other worst thing is the opposite : being disturbed by the waiter/tress every 2 minutes for nothing. Just checking if everything is fine.

Solution in Korea :

  • A small discrete buzzer on the table
  • You press and your table number appears on a screen somewhere visible by all waiters
  • You also hear a discrete sound (well not always discrete actually)
  • The first available waiter answers  : “Yes”
  • And before a minute you have him near you. Isn’t it nice ?

In France :

  • A waiter is responsible of a set of tables
  • He does not go out of it
  • Sometimes he has nothing to do
In Korea :
  • Waiters have no specific domains
  • The arrive on demand


The opposite system exists to avoid having customer waiting at the desk :

  • Client orders at the desk and pays
  • He receives a small box
  • He sits where he wants
  • When the box is buzzing he fetches his order at the counter

A Big Smile

In France client is king. In Korea he is the emperor of all universe. Consuming is so developed that the waiter becomes a servant.

For example when he come to you he ducks near your table so he won’t speak to you from a higher position.

When he commits a mistake he bends respectfully before you.

This behavior may be a little extreme for us. But it’s good to think of a restaurant as a complete service.


Extended Opening Hours

Serving only between 12 and 2pm is not enough anymore. People from around the world is coming to Paris. They have their own rhythm. You must be able to choose your eating hours.

Paying At The Exit

In some french restaurants :

  • You tell the waiter you finished
  • You refuse coffee, desert (or not)
  • You ask for the check
  • He brings you the check
  • You ask to pay with credit card
  • He brings you the credit card
  • You take your belongings (not before payings, otherwise it’s suspicious)
  • You leave. 20 minutes in some cases (yes : in Paradis du Fruit for example)

In Korea :

  • I finish eating
  • I stand up and take my belonging
  • I pay at the exit
  • Goodbye. 4 minutes maximum.


Author: Jean-Baptiste Rieu

Trained software engineer and now product manager. I ❤️ #space #architecture #typography #books #games #verticalfarming. I do #productmanagement #software #abtesting #data. I work on #payment @sundayapp_ Blogging mostly to practice writing, and to engage with others on life in Korea, products, engineering, books and anything worth geeking about.