The Sweet Service Award goes to Michelle Ladewig, from Leechie Marketing, the Whale Cottage designer. Michelle was asked if she could finalise the WhaleTales newsletter on Sunday evening, for it to go out early on Monday, but to incorporate the winners of the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, which were only announced at about 22h00 that evening. The Top 10 list was sent to Michelle by sms from the function, while the paragraphs summarising the evening were e-mailed after the event. By midnight the newsletter was completed and proofread, ready to be sent out the next morning!
The Sour Service Award goes to the Westin Grand Hotel, at which the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards took place. Problems encountered by guests paying R 650 per ticket were warm sparkling wine served on arrival, warm white wine and water served at the table, no ice buckets brought to the tables to keep the wine and water cold, staff not respecting one’s space, squashing past one, red wine requested instead of white wine did not arrive, and worst of all, the airconditioning did not work properly, making it unbearably warm in the ballroom. As New Media Publishing was not addressing the problems, the F&B Manager was called, and the problems explained. He made an improvement as far as wine temperature and supply of red wine was concerned, but could not fix the aircon problem. It seemed that the staff were untrained for the event, and that there was no senior management staff on duty (it being a Sunday, a favourite day for senior hotel staff to take the day off!). Luckily the food preparation was done by the top chefs attending the function, and their food could not be faulted at all. Eben, the F&B Director of the hotel, called early on Monday, after reading the WhaleTales blog post about the Eat Out evening, and apologised for the problems. He explained that it was a difficult function to service, and admitted that the airconditioning was not operating effectively, and that they could not get it fixed the previous evening. The Westin Grand Hotel had the top chefs and food lovers from around the country attending the function, who were being lauded for their food quality and service excellence, yet they themselves could not deliver, which was a poor reflection not only on the hotel but also on New Media, Eat Out and its sponsors Prudential and Veritas wines.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.