KOTO (Know One, Teach One) is a social enterprise in Vietnam which gives “disadvantaged youth the possibility to learn and strive in their lives“. To learn more about KOTO and founder Jimmy Pham you should visit the KOTO website
KOTO restaurants are staffed by youth participating in the KOTO program. The picture below is of the bar and dining area in KOTO Saigon.
Over the past few years I have had the privilege on a number of occasions of meeting Jimmy Pham, the founder of KOTO restaurants in Vietnam and heard him talk about KOTO, the students, graduates and his journey. One of the common themes which comes through is that KOTO provides a ‘second chance’ to these youth. The idea of second chance is also represented throughout the restaurant and with this in mind take a closer look at the chandelier above the bar in the previous picture.
During a visit to KOTO as part of a study tour Jimmy informed us that the chandelier is actually made up of clear plastic drink stirrers which have been used and ordinarily would have been thrown out. But instead they too have been given a ‘second chance’. This is a powerful example of how the ideals of an organisation can be embodied in its servicescape and how knowing these stories can also enhance the experience.
The reuse of materials to represent the notion of a ‘second chance’ can also be seen elsewhere throughout the restaurant with the photo below showing the wash basin in the amenities area. In the photo below a wok from the kitchen which can no longer be used for cooking has been converted into this basin