Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Skukuza's 'Wooden Banana' - Enough is enough!

Eating at any of the restaurants in the Kruger National Park is usually unpleasant, mediocre at best. Whether it's at the buffet table or from the fast-food outlet, the experience is unforgettable and always for the wrong reasons.

The Wooden Banana (?) at Skukuza, the park's flagship camp, deserves its name. The staff are woefully incompetent, surly and poorly trained.  Management's to blame. It's a cheap and dirty business model. Who on earth awarded these people the catering contract?

I recently observed the counter staff treat a group of twenty American visitors with complete disdain. 'Culture' does NOT excuse incompetence. ALL front-line staff should treat their customers with respect. Private conversation should be conducted outside of WORKING Hours (remember the concept?) and certainly not between the counter staff and the kitchen staff some 30 meters away and NEVER whilst customers wait to be served. The American group, frustrated by the 'language barrier' [??] and obviously annoyed by their treatment still spent over R2000 on 'food' and drink.

If the staff are poor inside 'the banana', wait and see what's waiting out on deck.... It's plainly a dump. Tables are never wiped and just generally filthy. Litter is usually strewn across the floor. Condiments & sauce bottles are dusty or smeared with old sauce or grime. The deck itself is plainly a health hazard, covered in unsavoury bits of decaying food, guano and other 'material'. Umbrellas are never opened or clean.

All this, however, pales into insignificance when served the slop passed as food. The fries ['chips'] are fried in what could be old motor-oil and served an awful rancid yellow in colour. The chicken is precooked, then heated, a recipe for disaster. Do yourself a favour and NEVER order a toasted sandwich..Mouldy bread (bread rolls too) has been served to me more than once. On another occasion, the chicken mayo sandwich served to me was rotten. The shade of green on the chicken and the accompanying stench was a clue too subtle, obviously, and missed completely by the waitress, 'chef' and 'QC' Manager. Incidentally, whoever runs the kitchen should be fired. It's quite obvious that he/she is completely out of his/her depth. There's just never enough stock on hand, ever!

Now, let's be honest. Nobody expects the 'banana', which is little more than a canteen really, to serve 5-star fare. Expecting courteous service, fresh ingredients well-prepared, a hygienic surface from which to eat and a modicum of comfort should not, however, be too much to ask for, surely?

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