The first noticeable find I made would be the pricing of the service. Much like Hooters, I believe the FaniMaid Cafe was there for the scenery and not for the food, just with less buffalo wings and cleavage. $3.00 for fine bottled water? The same price as a soda – coffee? The pricing baffled me; in the hotel lobbies, I could get a small plastic cup to have my fill of cooler water, and here I would shell almost twice of what I would shell out for a small soda for a drink of water. Then there's the sandwiches and Desserts for $4.00 and $5.00 respectively; that's not bad (though "fresh sandwiches" left me wondering just how "fresh" these sandwiches were in their refrigerated packagings.), but $3.00 for water still got me.
I wasn't there to eat though (it's a con, I brought my own cost effective Cup Noodles to stay alive the four days), and I went right to work rather than sitting down for a little service. The café being so small, there wasn't much to show, and soon I stood in the middle of the cafe wondering why had decided to cover this in the first place. I snapped a photo or two and went to my back up plan: an impromptu interview with a maid. Looking around, I found Tina Tseng by the front of the cafe.
Tseng, a cosplayer, was asked to work at the café by another staffer who is a friend. She was dressed conservatively in a ruffled black and white dress that went down to above her knees while her hair was worn in twin ponytails. After a quick photo shoot I asked her more about what exactly went on at FaniMaid.
"Well, the Butlers are here to clean up and help seat people." Tseng said. "We're primarily a maid cafe." I was left wondering why these guys didn't cash in on the chance to make a host club, but I suppose there wasn't enough time to plan that what with it barely being a maid cafe.
I asked Tseng just what the maids did at the cafe: "We mainly grab and serve our customers food and talk with them if they like." Tseng replied. I nodded and thanked her for her trouble as I left.
While Tseng and the other maid's services are, in the essence, a maid cafe, I can't think it is truly one. As I walked away to hurry back to my base of operations in the artists' alley, I thought that the café lacked something, an essence. When I think of a maid café, I think of a maid's service to her master or mistress, not a waitress. The establishment was nothing more than a imitation, a café dressed up in frills. As customers enter I heard no "Welcome back Master," or a "Please take care" as anyone left, I'd have a better fill having my tea served by Izumi Sawatari.
(For a dine-in review, please see our second opinion article here.)