Recently, T&Q was invited by Angelo Roberto of the local Market on Main in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, to test his original Italian dishes. (We were also joined by some German guests). Angelo is the no-frills owner of CASA ANGELO, a little unpretentious food-spot in the middle of the market on Main Street. He welcomed us in his loud, true Italian manner, supplied us with clean wine-glasses for the wine we brought (the Market on Main is not a licensed venue), and proceeded to prepare our dishes.
While listening to a local singer wooing our feet to tap to some cover music in the background, Angelo and his all-round assistant Wanda were not only preparing our meals, but serving a regular stream of patrons collecting meals-to-go, without missing a beat. Rustic as it may appear, Angelo keeps a strict eye on hygiene and cleanliness in his compact establishment. The products he deliver are prepared in an original fire-oven, and when our meals arrived, nothing was amiss. There was enough cheese and ample ingredients on the beautifully baked, thin based pizza which landed in front of me about 15 minutes after order. The other invitees elected different choices off the menu, with all dishes arriving at the same time. All guests agreed that the food was delicious!
As a man who often find thin-based pizzas a little light on my personal “fill-my-stomach” scale, I was pleasantly surprised to feel quite satisfied after my meal. The service was also good, with Angelo and Wanda attentive regarding requests, and the general consensus excellent regarding meal-characteristics.
CASA ANGELO specialises in repeat business, with large groups of returning diners booking a few of the tables at the Market on Main – often. Angelo and Wanda seems to have found the secret to presenting a smooth and simple, yet variety-filled menu to their guests from all over the world. Whether it is a bus full of Chinese visitors, or a few cars filled with students, they love to mingle with the local patrons at this venue, especially if live music accompany the meals.There is also ample parking (holiday season may not allow this to be true) in front of the Market on Main.
Inevitably, Truth and Quality often suggest to businesses of all kinds, little (or many in some cases) improvement tips which we did share with Angelo after the meal. He was happy to incorporate the ideas we conveyed, and we left soon after.
T&Q rates Casa Angelo a deserving 7.740 on our Accreditation Scale for compact mid-town dining venues. We will frequent this establishment gladly, and suggest you do as well when you are in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.
You can call Angelo Roberto on +27 78 512-7104 and book your seat, or just stop by.
Founder and the Team
Truth and Quality SA
PS. The Market on Main could do with more retail activity at night – surrounding the area of Casa Angelo (professional opinion).
If you have never heard of Nieu Bethesda, a two-horse village hidden in the Eastern Cape at the foot of the Sneeuberge, approximately 50 kilometers from Graaff Reinet which was founded in 1875 as a church town…now you have. Truth and Quality go far and wide to not only rate, but also to discover or perhaps stumble upon a venue or business that impress (or not) the team. In the case of the successful GANORA Guest Farm and Excursions, a mere 9 km from Nieu Bethesda.
Truth and Quality was more than impressed. Upon arrival in the early morning hours, we were greeted by friendly staff and the owners JP and Hester appeared soon after, welcoming us as we parked between the array of 4×4 vehicles spread throughout the large yard. I immediately knew this place was popular, and as the day grew I could see why. This is a farm, a working farm in the middle of history. Their slogan, “Give us one day and we will give you 250 million years” aptly fits the surrounding area and town geography, and if you wish to explore history, Ganora Guest Farm would be an ideal base. Some of the excursions they offer include a Fossil museum, Bushman Rock Art shelters, Anglo-Boer War History, a Medicinal Plant walk and much more. They cater for the discerning researcher and/or tranquility seeker, all the way to school and/or educational groups. This may sound very commercial, but the business side of this farm is cleverly hidden behind serene, silent moments in time and the life-pace you bring through the gate, slows down automatically. On another level, if you are a trail-bicycle enthusiast or travelling motorcyclist, Ganora Guest Farm will rise to the occasion as well as the early hours you may keep. They have a wholesome farm breakfast (or light health breakfast) to kick you into gear before you commence your trip into the hills…..or into history.
As Accreditation Reviews go, we had a detailed look at the entire picture presented to us at the farm, and we found ten beautifully equipped, modern and classy rooms in different categories (and a family cottage) built into the original farm stables and buildings (see images). There is a swimming pool area, and we heard a few weddings graced the nicely kept garden adjacent to the original farmhouse. Before leaving, we visited an area on the farmstead possibly earmarked for an upmarket tent-camp, which we believe would be a positive addition to Ganora. Completing the list of attributes this venue had on offer and display, I deem it fit to mention that the visual dynamic throughout this farm remains “out in the country”. It is a working farm, so you will experience farm life as it happens while nourishing your lungs with some real country air, and we recommend you visit their website www.ganora.co.za for much more information regarding pricing and availability.
After consulting the owners, it is prevalent to mention that prices are consistent, market-related and fair. The venue has happy staff and all animals are treated with utmost respect. All facilities are clean and although a farmstead, the prioritized level of hygiene clear. The variety of activities are matched with operational expertise and their marketing matches what you find when you walk through the door. They operate in truth with matched quality.
As Truth and Quality, we are happy to welcome Ganora Guest Farm and Excursions to a T&Q Platinum Status Rating of 8.350 on our (1.000 – 9.950) Accreditation Rating Scale for (Non-urban) Country-style Venues. We thank Hester and JP for their warm welcome (without knowledge of this official review), and insist you go meet them soon.
Pro-note: Ganora Guest Farm is a registered Three-Star facility. Truth and Quality rate them a clear Four-Star Hospitality Venue.
(Please note – The images (22) we took of the Base-station were accidently erased. Please refer to their website for perhaps more visual detail).
In line with our expansion program, we stopped at Harties Cableway to visit with Iain Gunn and his crew in Hartbeespoort. As much as Cape Town claims the bragging rights to cable-access and viewing from the Table Mountain top, this venue need not retreat, bringing gasp-worthy scenes above the plains surrounding it. When entering the property off the R511 (open daily 09h00 -16h30), we were immediately impressed with the property care. The entire staff, from the car-guards all the way to Iain himself were dressed in clearly marked attire stating their commitment to being recognized anywhere on the property, also each person adorning a smiley-face badge to pledge their allegiance to the Tourism Friendly South Africa Campaign. Please note as well: This hilltop is surrounded by an area in South Africa with a vast and rich history relating to local wars in the early part of the 19th Century. Some unique plants and birds (and more) complete the pleasantly varied picture offered to the public.
We had a wonderful breakfast pizza (total bill including a generous tip – only R190.00) served by Esther with a smile and on-time accuracy at the Hero’s Cableway Grill-house and Pizzeria at the base station before heading to the top. Safety is a priority when getting in and out of the cable-cars. Although a monotonous task to the staff I’m sure, they assisted us in a professional and courteous manner before heading out. The trip up the mountain was as expected breath-taking, but once at the top looking down, we were blown away by the extent of view. It is a photographer’s paradise, and when you arrive at the Pizza Shack on the highest point of the hill, a 360-degree view (as far as into next year!) can be experienced. We eventually settled at the cocktail bar on the edge to have a few drinks after walking through the curio and clothing where surprisingly, the prices of goodies were market-related and not the usually inflated prices we too often see at tourist destinations.
We had a great time with Richard (the local bartender – see image), but were even more impressed with the bill. A 500ml bottle of Van Loveren Blanc de Blanc and a Southern Comfort and lemonade ran us R81.00 in total. Now this may sound expensive to some of you, but far from it. In many bars in South Africa, the Southern Comfort single shot would cost R30.00 or more, where as we were charged a mere R19.00 – all while enjoying the breathtaking views around us.
It is important to mention that while visiting Harties Aerial Cableway, it was clear that no costs were spared to ensure safety and comfort. The ablution facilities are exemplary clean and well-maintained, the restaurants well-stocked and the property cared for on a level matching any exclusive international destination of the same format. Naturally the trip down the mountain was once again amazing and upon arrival I found my vehicle washed (as requested), but on a standard that the local car-wash in my home-town could learn from. Before leaving we picked up some items at the very classy curio shop in the mini mall-like base station of the venue. We found some quite exquisite gifts for friends at prices a little more than some might like to spend, but they are worth every cent.
The total experience at Harties Cableway is one of fluid professionalism. With the right mix of friendly and knowledgeable staff and a facility that cater for any person or group, in an environment of unique beauty inclusive of an eco-friendly approach, this Northwest destination should be on your “MUST GO THERE” list. Truth and Quality rates Harties Cableway a very deserving 8.600 on our Accreditation Rating System for Registered Tour Operators. This qualifies them for Platinum Status.
Well done Iain Gunn and Staff!
Below is a brief list of their up to date RATES for visitors to the venue (Price increase from 1 November 2015)
Children (4-14) R115 (Under-fours go for free)
School group bookings only
Please contact their office +27 (0) 12 253 9910
Annual tickets R895.00 (unlimited access to the mountain for 1 year during operational hours). Please contact their office.
Important Rule – No food, drinks or pets may be brought to the cable-way.
Great Deal for Pensioners – please present your SA identity document at the ticket office and only pay R120.00!
Hidden (not really) next to the N2 a few kilometers outside Plettenberg Bay on the left as you pass by Keurbooms, there is a little place with a big presence. Thyme and Again Farm Stall (and Restaurant & Coffee Shop) is a lot of almost everything edible you may need if you are in their vicinity. Whether you are visiting the area or live there, something on their menu or in their shop will meet your need if you are hungry or thirsty.
Their prices on food served (our meals were excellent!) or food sold are all market related, meaning although they are conveniently close to the Keurbooms community and hospitality facilities, and they stock not only specialised local products (local wine etc.) but the bare necessities for holiday makers as well, they don’t try to rip you off. Too often we have encountered in the Plettenberg Bay area, companies and retail shops who try to exploit not only the foreign or visitors market, but also the locals. Thyme and Again is a balanced market-example of great service and good products with fair price-tags. Looking at the picture below you will see variety, localised excellence and a nice ambiance when you enter through the doors. In line with T&Q policies surrounding Direct Highway Accessible Farm stalls and shops, a venue needs to observe the cost of convenience and have a marketable product in the form of high standards no matter business pace or flow. Thyme and Again seems to have most of those ducks in their row. They are family (kids included) friendly and we confidently promote them as place worth supporting any time of year. We wish for other similar entities to pause there for a moment to see how it is done!
With this said, Truth and Quality issue a mark of 7.760 as a Gold Status Rating. The food was great and the Service excellent.
Note to owners and/or Management:
Please consider using better quality serviettes.
Give your staff some name tags. The latter makes the experience just that little more personal and give staff an identity associated with their place of employment.
The entrance to the shop itself is not wheelchair friendly (we did see the outside seating area is though).
Find ways to love the career or business you’re in, whether you are an employee or business owner. You chose to be there for reasons only you may know. No employment is perfect and some aspects of them you aren’t going to enjoy. Therefore, focus on bending your personality to fit your income-generating situation.
Make the mental commitment to focus on solutions not problems. Allow no space in your mind for thoughts about lack or negativity. When you think in terms of lack, you make decisions from a negative place, and these decisions will bring more lack. Learn to respect the value of each aspect of your career or business, take no short-cuts, and understand that being accomplished in the small things makes room for bigger opportunities.
2. Risk failure.
Commit to letting fear be your motivator but don’t let it become your captor when you approach career or business goals. If you give into fear, it will seduce you into shrinking your dreams. Encountering a fear can make it easy to quickly rationalise walking away from a great idea. To be successful, take a risk and be willing to see what the consequences of your decisions are. Consequences are teachers and guides because they give you quick answers. If you never take any risk, you’ll never light up these signposts to direct yourself and your business in the right direction. View each “no” as a prompt for a new direction or opportunity.
Learn to speak up. To get what you want, you must go for what you want.
3. Work hard.
Make the choice to first measure your success by your work ethic. If your pursuit of success is solely about profit, be aware that wanting money focuses the mind on the lack of it and needing more. Worry blocks opportunity and keeps you focused on how much you don’t have. Money is less likely to materialise under this mental and emotional dynamic. Commit to trusting that your hard work will generate profit. What you feverishly chase may elude you. For that reason, focus on the goals that this day or moment requires and get them done. It is from this mindset that the money WILL come.
Make the commitment to thinking big and never being satisfied with the goals you have achieved. Be grateful for what you have accomplished but not satisfied. Set higher goals. Understand that to be highly successful after you have achieved a certain level of accomplishment, know that you’re not done. You are just beginning. Be careful though – plan your expansion using a rhythm that suits the market trends, your own needs and aspirations and don’t throw all your money at once in a new direction. It is called expansion, stay with your original goals and add some, but be wise in exploration towards a completely new direction.
Always ask, “What is next?” regarding your business expansion. Agree to never downsize your dreams, but be vigilant in pacing yourself to effectively reach the best result.
5. Be consistent.
Commit to working consistently without pause, taking steps toward your business goals. It is through consistent and diligent work, coupled with patience and flexibility, that you can climb the ladder of success, and pledge to work hard even when you’re not yet reaping the benefits. It’s the last person standing who ends up winning the race. Just when you think of giving up, you may be a day away from the ultimate prize – success that matches your dreams.
6. Be passionate.
Decide to be passionate about what you do. Passion is the fuel that ignites your desire to work hard. Just like a car cannot run without fuel, a business cannot succeed without passionate, focused, hardworking people. When passion is present, success becomes possible, and the more success you experience, the more you need to increase your passion. In this way passion rewards itself. When passion is present, limits are virtually non-existent, but do not replace passion with exaggerated content, this will make you lazy. A business with ONGOING passion at its core seldom fails.
7. Maintain self-respect.
When you have self-respect, you take pride in yourself and exude an aura of knowledgeable confidence. It is visual and open to public scrutiny (and praise) as well. Choose to demonstrate self-respect in how you run your business and treat those you work with, your customers, and the public in general. Take daily steps to refine who you are to be ready for all decisions that need integrity and forethought.
When you are self-respecting, you make the commitment to be at the top of your game. You refuse to live by the “I will do it later motto.” You get things done today to ensure a successful tomorrow.
8. Keep things in balance.
You cannot get where you want to go alone. Decide to delegate things. To know when and what to delegate, be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Choose to delegate tasks to others who are more skilled in your weaker areas or turn to people who have the time to do what you can’t. The minute you think you can do it all on your own is when you open yourself up to failure. (Founder [T&Q] – I have tested this last theory before…and failed.)
9. Nurture relationships.
Make an effort to enter into business relationships intelligently and nurture them deliberately. Decisions about whom to work with are as essential to building a successful career as is your knowledge, work ethic and passion are.
As a business owner, choose people smartly and you are more likely to keep toxic people out of your business. When you find the right team members, intentionally nurture their success, individually and collectively, keeping morale high and infusing them with your passion, vision and purpose. Remember – The decision to hire someone determines a NEED from both individuals. You because you need a capable person in a position that secures a certain operating-position in your business, and your employee, who needs to secure an income through employment in a position and environment which would be conducive towards prosperity for you both, and longevity in that position securing a career, not just a job.
10. Seek feedback.
Commit to not being a know-it-all. Actively seek feedback to grow – from employees and customers alike. Each piece of feedback is a mustard seed of knowledge, capable of furthering to expand you and your business. If you cannot expand as a person, you cannot expand your business. Feedback forces you to keep an open mind and be available to opportunities never an option before. To be successful in business, commit to making self-aware, wise choices. Your success reflects your decisions, attitude and thinking. If your business isn’t where you want to it to be and you’re ready to set higher goals, start making new decisions matching your next goal. If you make these decisions utilising on-target statistics and feedback, success will cling to you and not let go.
Compiled by: Founder – Truth & Quality SA with the help of Sherrie Campbell (Psychologist)
A few days ago, we were invited to meet a Gupta. Turns out this Gupta was nice, in fact so nice that the T&Q team had to write about the experience.
At , a hidden in plain sight little newcomer (and most welcome) at The Market on Main in Plettenberg Bay, the owner Matthew Rowe introduced us to the “Gupta”. Turns out it is a massive, American-style monster hamburger of note! No wonder it is called the “Gupta”, because it is excessively adorned with the gifts one would expect with such a name connected to it.
This block of a meal features meat for a big boy stomach, with cheese and all the participating goodies in lovely excess all coming together to match the fries in a brute symphony of taste. Served on a little tray to prevent losses (sounds very Gupta), this burger and the other meals served (mini-breakfast – refer pictures below), rushed past our lips into our hearts.
The Market Sit Down and Take Away restaurant is nicely nestled in the corner as you enter the Market on Main, situated on Main Street in Plettenberg Bay about eighty meters (80m) from the Dolphin Circle. The restaurant has a fresh look, with great service for sit down, take away and call-in food orders from the businesses in town. The open-plan kitchen creates transparency in preparation of all food, and this we like…A LOT!
The place presents market-related pricing, is beautifully clean, and all meals arrived in good time WITH a steak knife on the side, something that is not negotiable when you eat anything harder than fresh bread, something Truth and Quality Team frown upon if absent from even a simple meal like breakfast. Our advice to management is to add a spicy sauce to the menu. Admittedly, I nearly lost my challenge “mano-a-mano” against the scrumptious GUPTA BURGER meal, and look forward to taking on the other dishes loved by those ‘in the know’ around the Market on Main. T&Q rate The Market Sit Down and Take Away restaurant a cool and deserving GOLD 7.96 (1.00 – 10.00 Scale) in its infancy, pretty sure it will reach Platinum Status sooner rather than later in its category.
They are open from 08h00 – 21h00 daily, and closed on Sundays (for now). Go there or call them (084 698 1222)!
Conduct, Ethics, People Management – and keeping an eye on the big picture. Those are the four core-principals WE promote within Responsible Tourism. Within this lies many sub-factors, yet when the basics within the four principals as described above are placed aside, to make way for unscrupulous business techniques, the essence of responsibility within the industry fades dramatically. It is not rocket science. It is maintaining the delicate balance between your focus on financial gain, and your commitment to your visitors. You are creating and providing memories. With this comes all forms of responsibility, starting with your guests, reaching all the way to your global industry-impact, and every necessary factor contributing towards consistent outcomes relating to, but not limited to the environment, fair trade and general social accountability.
The characteristics of RESPONSIBILITY IN BUSINESS is once again a contentious point when corruption, lack of ethics and scruples, as well as all forms of mismanagement, takes precedence over the basics of good business control. The emphasis on transparent, accountable business practice slowly (sometimes fast) “drifts” away from owners and/or management, once a certain level of financial prosperity is reached. It has become all too common for businesses to revert to gorilla marketing tactics, without knowing how to control or manage the influx of business through the door. This brings along shortcuts, staff-management issues, auditing and taxation infringements and a host of characteristics not matching either the industry businesses are in, or the market they are serving.
At no point is this lack of responsibility, created by flourishing boosts in business, a sustainable model. Invariably, there are businesses that functions successfully for years utilizing “under the radar” tactics to maximise profit, but the majority using the “see no evil, hear no evil” approach, eventually suffer great losses through overdue, compounded maintenance, high staff-turnover, market-snubbing, negative social media and lack of projection against national and international economic down-turns.
Responsible business is a visible, durable and consumer-friendly model – tried and tested to withstand most market low’s, while keeping in place a certain level of guaranteed trade. Doing business within the realms of Ethics and Conduct, keeping an eye on good trends and upgraded critical path systems, will ensure keen consumer participation. We embraces this philosophy, supporting as much as possible, other entities incorporating RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS PRACTICE.
Our head-office is on the Garden Route. The area is a relatively compact, breath-taking region existing as a collective of affluent estate-filled, and poor, shack-filled communities. This route along the coast is a beautiful paradox for the visitor, a home to most who live here, and a haven of “come and go” businesses, with one ugly common denominator, prevalent from Mosselbay to Jeffery’s Bay, and EVERYWHERE in between, called:
“Accepted Defeatism in the Service Industry”
When going to a mall, recruiting a private work team, hiring a contractor or going to the local shop on the corner, sub-standard service is flowing on the floors, dripping over the counters, riding on the back of lies and damaging bank accounts. Yet, we accept it like spineless, puny little one-legged midgets. We voluntarily absorb average and low service standards like hungry human vacuum cleaners, swallowing it whole and smiling pleasantly after the disappointment and revolt in our minds and hearts have been digested. Even when we strike back in word and deed, complain and shout, notably to deaf ears and blind eyes, we accept the truth of sub-standard service as part of the market DNA on the Garden Route (and in South Africa).
Granted, the exceptions exist as they have always had, but their numbers have declined to a minuscule little niche-group at the end of the rainbow, available only after an extended search in the mirage of common corruption, and woefully, only at the highest price. Yes, there are some good service-points hidden in plain sight on the Garden Route, but they charge for it – and deserve to do so, because they care, and they want to serve us, wanting to not lie while knowing we will be back to praise them…and pay them.
As for the bulk market retail and service suppliers, the unethical and scheming servers, the “I don’t give a damn for you” crowd, staring at you bluntly, making excuses which makes no sense, pardoning themselves because “bad service is the norm”, fill our towns and streets and hope we come back to be punched in the face again, and we DO return. We walk through doors knowing we are getting ripped-off, expecting employees with no training or lack thereof. We anticipate that somewhere, some negative reference to invisible upper management, inequality, distributors, race, political correctness, “Africa-time”, suppliers or just plain laziness will greet us with open arms if we dare to NOT ACCEPT unacceptable levels of service, or goods – or people. We budget around being cheated, and we strive to see if we “made a good choice this time”, but we keep accepting like defeatists, the undeniable fact that the service industry on the Garden Route (and in South Africa) is in some euphoric transformation period which excuses all and every slap in our collective and individual faces. The standards are dropping like dead flies, swept under the carpet like old dust, covered by badly chosen justifications, even going all the way to invite the history of Apartheid as the mastermind behind current deplorable service standards.
The numbers don’t add. Somewhere, we must grow a spine, pump some logic-iron and get some balls. Too long have we walked the streets of the Garden Route with our heads hung low, pretending it is OK, pretending it is not a breakable norm, and eating the dirt we are offered off the golden spoons that retail and service companies, businesses and individuals make us pay for with our hard-earned cash. It desperately needs a paradigm shift, a complete attitude change and a majestic market conviction from those we serve and those who serve us, to accomplish a new, radically improved dynamic in the service industry on the Garden Route (and nationally), and we must do it soon.
Otherwise, we will remain submissive in our expectations. We will keep allowing “the low-standard norm”, planning ridiculous excuses when we know we are, or are not at fault. We will keep forgiving far below par municipal and private sector business service standards, because the New South Africa “guilt” compels us to do so, and we will remain pathetically tolerant, until we finally succumb to the permanent, uncontrollable and unconditional state of Defeatism.
Consider this piece of conscience-info next time you accept a quote that scares you, or pay for a sub-standard hotel room, or swop for the third time a faulty car part, or forgive a bad garden service, or accept a season-inflated price for anything. I implore you to remember this in-your-face reality when you recognise the lack of something as simple as a friendly smile at the checkout counter. If you don’t, just go home and punch yourself in the stomach you sissy, because that is what you have become if you keep rolling over and playing dead when you are supposed to stand up and fight for the right of good service every day.
My message to the service market on the Garden Route is the following:
You have chosen a path which is detrimental to the core of the local economy. Your service is unacceptable, and while you may count your wad of cash in glee every day, smiling “all the way to the bank”, the people around you spit on your name when you turn away. We pay you but think nothing of you. Step forward and be accountable. Stop lying about what you advertise and offer. Stop inflating prices to ridiculous heights when the sun comes up on the first of November, it damages the locals while you suck visitor-wallets dry. Know this, sub-standard service travels. It travels in the market-place and exponentially influences the future of market service standards, to such an extent that eventually the lowest of service standards are accepted as the norm, and Pessimism the ONLY measure we apply when walking through your doors.
It is 2018, and suddenly one of the ugliest dragons in most market places is rearing its head without shame. The holiday season is dying its annual death, and slowly but inevitably real, so is good service delivery. Now that the holiday makers have spent their hard-earned cash on over-priced average to good service, and inflated product pricing, the dragon devouring consistency is getting his fill!
@TRUTHANDQUALITYI cannot stress ENOUGH, the damage that inconsistent business is causing in any market place. Customers count on you to not come with surprises other than better pricing and/or service. What they dread is walking in through your doors, past the dragon carrying out your smile and service delivery or product quality, leaving only half-baked intent. You CANNOT “change” the good business philosophy you maintained during the festive season, selling out to the irresponsible spending of killer-profits, reducing staff morale and returning to “business as usual” on a standard other than when season commenced.
CONSISTENCY creates a level playing field on a higher plain, forcing traders to emulate the businesses who never step away from providing platinum standards throughout the year – in and outside of season or holiday market-boosts. The uneasy chatter that I hear from savvy consumers when we reach the middle of January of any new year, about how they EXPECT the markets to disappoint us, is disconcerting, yet as real as it gets. On the flip-side of this coin, there is the same disappointed sighs I endure when consumers talk about how standards drop when businesses are busy closing for the festive season in late November or early December. A last effort from business owners to extort cash to cover annual bonuses and personal vacation expenses, combined with lack of effort to keep stockrooms adequately stocked and more, places consumers on the back-foot, which in the medium and long term will influence your bottom line if you suffer from this common business practice.
It is not rocket science people, to keep a standard. Sometimes I think a consistently low standard is better than no consistency at all, simply because the predictability of consistency remains present.
So, my first and very insistent advice for you is to become consistent this year. Don’t compromise being known for constantly servicing your market. Do it the same way, and only change when you UP YOUR STANDARD, keeping your margins realistic still. I promise you on this 19th day of January 2018, that when you look back at the end of this year after being predictably consistent, you would have gained a following – and your financial gain would have followed suit…no matter the industry you are in.
Recently I connected with a senior business associate and friend. We discussed the small, yet most significant details absent in the majority of tourist destinations in Southern Africa. After this extensive informal conversation, I returned to my own notes on the subject, and once again (frustratingly) came to the conclusion that most hospitality venues – restaurants, motels, hotels, and all other forms of vacation destinations, are somehow under the impression that the “smalls” being omitted from their standard business model (or philosophy – you choose), saves money.
This is at best ridiculous. It is remarkable how many (the majority once again) business owners and/or management (as I refer to it) are “trimming the detail” to convince themselves they are saving money in business.
Let me advise you, if you are guilty of this most common phenomenon, this parasite that clings to “minor” downward budgetary adjustments in projection, planning, presentation, management and many more, you are LOSING REVENUE in the form of repeat business. It is those small adjustments that need to be observed as essential, to lure your guests back to your venue. Whether it is related to product, presentation, service or management, if you downscale your approach towards its importance in the business model you incorporate, you will at best reach average to just above average recognition in the marketplace. This recognition comes in the form of cash, free word-of-mouth advertising and consistency in business.
This subject can be warped to suit any critic of my observations (for years!) concerning its value, but the end-result is not negotiable, You will not necessarily fail, and you may even reach particular goals suiting your life-style and business portfolio, but you will NOT be the “talk of the town” or region or country. You can only reach upper echelon market status and recognition once you incorporate these seemingly insignificant smalls. The argument I encounter without fail is that ‘budgets don’t allow for it’. That is utter BS. Your competency in consistently delivering the small, vital, and more than often, key ingredients into your trading philosophy costs very little. It only involves a little more planning, maybe seeking less glory than you deserve with test-spending on unnecessary gadgets or systems. It involves placing your feet ALWAYS in the shoes of the person walking through your front door. It involves not relinquishing the high standard you want to project, and it involves a workforce who can and want to maintain your standards utilising the small things that set you apart from the rest.
I could give you a hundred samples, but I will leave you to mull on the subject with these words:
“If the napkin/serviette you offer does not suit the size of the steak you sell, or the sauce you present with that steak, you have not made a friend, you have only sold a steak”
Truth and Quality uses fair assessment and judgement, without undue emotion when we evaluate a market-place, a retail facility or and entertainment venue. However, like you – we are human and wanting good value for our hard-earned money and great service when we spend it. With this statement (above) in mind, we returned home from a restaurant in Plettenberg Bay (Western Cape, South Africa) tonight, after meeting a few friends for a quick dinner they invited us to, being short of incensed about the service. We were only partially impressed by our meals as well.
This may not be anything new, as bad service seems to be more than prevalent in Plettenberg Bay, but the venue we attended is notably one of the upper-bracket restaurants (hearsay-rating – dependent on pricing and other factors) in town. The bartender did not greet us as we sat down for a pre-dinner drink, then he proceeded to pay half attention while we inquired about certain beverages, NEVER (NOT ONCE) trying to show a friendly, helpful demeanour. We eventually left after our short visit there, having not enjoyed our time there. Prior to leaving, we tipped the waiter (same bartender) a more than decent tip, with not even remotely a “thank you” of any kind. He mumbled something which could resemble acknowledgement of payment of our bill.
As a senior Accreditation and Marketing Advisor, I am appalled by this. We also noticed various significantly sub-standard (for its status as a restaurant) aspects at this venue. Please note, at this time we refrain from naming the venue as we have not done a full evaluation as “Secret Shoppers”. For the bad service and average food we received tonight, this venue gets a very low evaluation rating though, and we will definitely go back to do a full assessment, naming the restaurant – not to shame them, but to compliment as well if they provide the general consistency and venue, parking structure, view and more.
Truth and Quality South Africa
(PS. I am preparing an article on the ridiculously common public ACCEPTANCE of BAD SERVICE in Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George, Mosselbay and on the Garden Route in general. It will be an interesting read I guarantee you.)
MONKEYLAND and BIRDS OF EDEN So, we went on a walkabout with a group between an array of primates and birds to be found at two adjacent venues on the Wildlife Sanctuary in The Crags, Western Cape, South Africa – just off the N2 about 20 – 25km outside Plettenberg Bay towards Jeffreys Bay.
The owner of the small CHEZ LAURENT booth-restaurant at the Market on Main in Plettenberg Bay invited us to come and savour his magnificent steak and salad dish. Our Swiss friend Roger M. had arrived and confirmed the story about town was that (French) Chef Laurent was the proclaimed king of steak preparation, so we set out last weekend to test these bold words.