A Steaming Pile of Marketing Ingenuity. Taiwan Style.

By Mark Goodchild

“In an age where creative marketing is king, even feces can be turned into gold!” ~http://www.moderntoilet.com.tw/en/about.asp

In the ‘All too real’ world of the 21st century, intolerance toward façade and indulgence has risen from the ashes of a war heaped in kitsch and piles of lies.  With chains like Hard Rock Café, Planet Hollywood and Rainbow Café having lead the charge in North America and parts of Europe, what was once a $185 million a year industry in its peak has all but faded from existence like the nappy moth-eaten fur that hangs from the junk piled robotic armature of Bullwinkle Moose.   But not so, it would seem, in Asia.  With a post-modern return to theme-based restaurants, Visionstate naturally gravitated toward a toilet themed restaurant chain in Taiwan that seems to be making quite the stink in the worldwide press. 

With thirteen restaurants in Thaiwan and Hong Kong, Modern Toilet is wiping up the competition and becoming the destination for those seeking a bit of goofy fun when dining out.  The self-proclaimed “muckrackers” say they got the idea for a restaurant from where else..? On the john of course.  Where else could you dream up a food chain that celebrates the actual food-chain, from the first tasty link to the one daggling at the end? 

  Top picture from "Eat,drink,+beKerry" blog. Bottom picture taken from Untapped Cities by Wesley Yiin.

Top picture from "Eat,drink,+beKerry" blog. Bottom picture taken from Untapped Cities by Wesley Yiin.

Building on a previous success with a brand of soft chocolate ice cream served in a toilet-shaped container, the creators decorated their environments with copper pipes, giant poo-shaped sculptures, seats that are real (although non-operational …I think) toilet bowls elaborately adorned in faux jewels and bright sparkly paint, and broadened their menu of food intentionally prepped to look like it will six to eight hours later.  They found that people were really… moved by their… cheeky charm and achieved their dream in 2004, inviting a fresh heap of hungry novelty-seeking customers into the fold, many from overseas.  I know, personally, I’ve always felt compelled to spoon up a green curry from a toilet bowl and sip a hot, yellow drink from a tiny urinal.  Who hasn’t?  Apparently only a few because Modern Toilet is a booming business showcased on American television and various international cooking shows, and has risen from a single drop in the bucket to a multi-flush empire. 

Who knows, as success continues, perhaps Visionstate will hear from them soon to install some WANDAs in their locations, specially coded to include the menu.  No one else appreciates Modern Toilet’s formula of celebrating the beauty of a clean and tidy bathroom with good eats more than us.  It’s the perfect ‘twofer’ and something we here at Visionstate would gladly drop a load of love for.

Carolyn Truong