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Waitress trainee Shiho Carter helps put the finishing touches on Yokosuka Naval Base’s new Chili’s restaurant. After more than six months of construction, the new restaurant, which will seat 270 patrons, opens Monday.
Waitress trainee Shiho Carter helps put the finishing touches on Yokosuka Naval Base’s new Chili’s restaurant. After more than six months of construction, the new restaurant, which will seat 270 patrons, opens Monday. ()
Waitress trainee Shiho Carter helps put the finishing touches on Yokosuka Naval Base’s new Chili’s restaurant. After more than six months of construction, the new restaurant, which will seat 270 patrons, opens Monday.
Waitress trainee Shiho Carter helps put the finishing touches on Yokosuka Naval Base’s new Chili’s restaurant. After more than six months of construction, the new restaurant, which will seat 270 patrons, opens Monday. ()
Chili’s corporate trainer Jamye Warn, left, teaches bartender trainee Akira Numao the finer points of assembling a margarita machine.
Chili’s corporate trainer Jamye Warn, left, teaches bartender trainee Akira Numao the finer points of assembling a margarita machine. ()
The opening staff and corporate trainers pose outside Yokosuka Naval Base’s newest restaurant - Chili’s.
The opening staff and corporate trainers pose outside Yokosuka Naval Base’s newest restaurant - Chili’s. (Photos by Chris Fowler / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Yokosuka’s long-awaited Chili’s Grill and Bar will open Monday, but Friday the place already was buzzing with excitement.

All weekend long, the restaurant and staff were to be put through their paces during three days of “role playing,” serving real food to real customers under real working conditions, said David Ko, Chili’s director.

The invitation-only event is designed to test the interaction between customers and wait and kitchen staff under real but controlled working conditions, Ko said. About 20 trainers were flown in from around the world to assist.

“I’ve invited about 1,000 people — people who live in nearby housing, people I see around base — to come to the restaurant and try our menu free of charge,” Ko said.

“It’s really a great tool to introduce ourselves to the community.”

The 270-seat bayside facility next to Yokosuka’s Navy Lodge will offically open 10:58 a.m. Monday when Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Commanding Officer Capt. Dan Weed cuts the ribbon.

Ko said he is counting on a winning combination of food and service to make the establishment a local favorite. Chili’s will offer the same menu as its stateside restaurants.

“I’m telling my staff that I don’t want Chili’s to be popular simply out of default — because of proximity or affordability,” Ko said. “I want people to want come to Chili’s — for the great atmosphere, service and food.”

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