Defy Sweet Service and Karibu Sour Service Awards

 The Sweet Service Award goes to Jason, the Branch Manager of Defy in Cape Town, for preventing his company from receiving a Sour Award.    The Service Department is not known to be very service orientated, usually booking the service call for 4 – 6 working days ahead.   A reference number was received and a date organized for the repair of a tumbledrier in Franschhoek.   As the technician had not arrived by 3 pm on the promised date, the customer called the service centre.  She was told that the technician had called in the morning.  No message was left by the technician nor did he try to contact the customer again later that day.   The customer was told that the technician had already left the area, and that he would therefore only be able to return in two days.  The customer was not happy with the delay, as a firm arrangement had been made.   She was fortunate to be able to get the cell number of Jason, the branch manager, who was out of the office on that day.   He took control immediately, and promised that the technician would come on the following day.  The customer called Jason again, when the technician could not issue a Tax Invoice, only a job card, for the replacement of the fan belt.    Jason immediately offered to allow the service to be free of charge, given that the repair was two months after the guarantee expiry.  

The Sour Service Award goes to Karibu in the V&A Waterfront, for poor service to a group of tourists having drinks there, and disputing the bill.  The nomination comes from Amanda Burman:  “On Saturday 2nd May  Philippe Sella (*Philippe Sella was one of the greatest rugby centres of all time, the French legend being the first player to win 100 caps for his country) stopped off with a few of his clients for pre drinks before lunch at Karibu Restaurant in the Waterfront.    All were French speaking but Philippe is able to speak fairly decent English.   I arrived just before they received their bill.   They ordered Beers, one other drink and Whiskey with Coke. The waiter asked what type of whiskey.  and went on to mention a “million” different brands. They “stopped” him and Philippe repeated  “just a normal whiskey with coke”.   On presentation of the bill, Philippe realized something was wrong when the total came to a whopping  + R2 300.00. While he was questioning the waiter, I spotted someone “cowering” behind the bar counter,  went up to him and asked if he was the Manager. He answered in the affirmative and of course I berated him for not stepping forward to deal with this. He showed absolutely no interest and had no idea how to handle the situation. I told him to make sure the owner gets hold of me to sort this out.    A gentleman by the name of Werner phoned and told me he was a part owner. He was rude and abrasive,  basically insinuated that I was lying as his waiter had told him a different story. I asked him what happened to “the customer is always right” and told him that he was ripping off the foreigners and to boot he was ripping off a very well known and very honourable gentlemen. He didn’t care at all and eventually slammed the phone down on me.  I was at another establishment by this time and the Proprietor was so angry that she too phoned him but she received the same treatment. About 15 minutes later, he phoned me back with words to the effect of “I just want you to know that my waiter speaks fluent French so there could have been no mistake with what they ordered. That’s all I have to say on the matter” and again he slammed the phone down on me. I checked with Philippe if at any time the waiter spoke French to them and of course he said NO.   The total was so high because the waiter had served 5 (double tots – not asked for) of – wait for it –  Johnny Walker BLUE with coke! This portion of the bill came to R1 750!   Philippe has been bringing groups to SA ever since he retired from rugby in 1995. Cape Town is one of his favourite destinations. Clearly Karibu will not be on his list for the future!” 
Werner Olivier, part-owner of Karibu, replied as follows:   The situation as conveyed to you by Amanda Burman is Incorrect. The facts pertaining to the “pre-lunch drinks” are as follows:Philippe Sella arrived with four other guests at the restaurant and were seated on the comfortable couches close to the bar area. They were presented with our wine list which also contains the whiskeys with prices.   The waiter, upon realising that they were French, called to our French speaking sommelier, who was standing behind the bar counter about 3 meters away, which then spoke to Mr Sella in French and pointed out the different whiskeys from the display at the bar counter. Mr Sella ordered the Johnny Walker Blue Label, a double, by name and asked for ice on the side. The coke was ordered separately.He then repeated this order twice later and rounded it off with another two orders of double neat whiskeys – a total of 10 tots!   One of his party of people came to the bar counter and had a discussion, in French, with the sommelier. He enquired whether we stock Ricard, an excellent, expensive, French vermouth. We didn’t so he settled for Martini Bianco’s. A total of 6 Double Martinis were then consumed in the same spate of time.   During this pre-lunch drinks session the guests consumed between them a total of: 12 Martini Bianco,10 Shots of Johnny Walker Blue label,7 Windhoek Draughts,3 Castle Lagers, 3 Cokes and 2 Glasses of Constantia Uitsig Sauvignon Blanc- a total of 37 drinks.   We are quite sure that Mr Sella is quite capable of distinguishing between single and double shots, that he is an experienced whiskey drinker and can distinguish between cheap whiskey and Johnny Walker Blue Label which he ordered. Mr Sella was also quite happy when the bill arrived and did not question the bill as alleged. The person who questioned the bill was his “close friend” Amanda Burman. As a reputable up-market restaurant we do not employ “cowering” managers. When I phoned Amanda Burman she was the rude person who put the phone down. It is inconceivable that the “proprietor of another establishment”  could have overheard a cell phone conversation, neither did the female person that phoned me identify herself but only stated she was phoning on behalf of Amanda, made rude remarks and put the phone down. I investigated further and phoned Amanda Burman back and told her that the whiskey was ordered by name from the French-speaking sommelier. She insisted on a full refund and came over aggressively which necessitated my ending the conversation.   We believe that Amanda Burman was ill-informed and, as a close friend of Mr Phillippe Sella, is perhaps quite informed of his drinking habits and whiskey choice, which, we are sure, as a famous celebrity and obviously avid and experienced consumer of whiskey, would be nothing other than only the best like the Johnny Walker Blue Label he ordered at our Restaurant. As a reputable up-market restaurant who have just won the Amarula Cape Town Cocktail competition, we invite all people to come and experience Karibu’s hospitality, excellent (and honest!) service, and mouth-watering South African dishes…………….. and judge for themselves.  

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be red on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the website.