Last week Monday I went on an impromptu double date. My cousin is down from London and so of course is here for the sole purpose of chilling and relaxation. Unfortunately, the Ghanaian tourist attractions are scarce on a Monday night. After driving around town for almost an hour, we decided on Afrikiko on the Liberation Road. No specific reason for choosing this place, it was the only place which had more than 2 people occupying the space. Unlike the Francophone countries, it is very difficult to find somewhere to sit and just relax in the evening Monday – Thursday apart from container spots and overpriced West End type places such as Rhapsody’s.
The external cosmetics of Afrikiko I have to say is on the high standard. A lot of money has been put into maintaining the place; they have a Thai Restaurant attached (not tried it yet) as well as a standard bar. The structure is made out of bamboo with a lot of open air seating but you do have the option to sit inside also, there is also a dance floor which I presume is used on a Friday & Saturday night, on the outside it is a cool place to hang out. Drinks are not too costly when you compare it to the likes of Rhapsody’s or Bella Roma. A bottle of Guinness or mini star is around 4GHS, spirits and wines are a bit more costly though. Between the 4 of us we had 3 double shots of Red label with coke and one vodka and coke, plus 8 kebab sticks which came up to around 80GHS. Not the type of place that you could hang out every night if you are a drinker, but a nice place to sit if you are out on a date.
Well I say a nice place to hang out, but that’s if you are not too fussed about the type of service you receive. A beautiful place marred by the fact that customer service is pants. I wouldn’t say that they are rude, but it came across like ignorance is bliss. It is like the waiters were hired not given any training and left to their own devices. It is like, you’re a waiter, take the order, get it and bring it to the table. Why oh why do people not realise that in so far as you are offering a service to the customer, some type of induction should be done. Just the basics, how to greet a customer, know what you are selling to your customer, don’t keep your customer waiting. It may sound like common sense business owners, but you need to realise that it is not so common and some sort of training needs to be involved if you want longevity for your business.
We arrived at around 8.30 and were greeted by Tim nice but dim. It took almost 30 minutes to get our drinks. It is not like they were busy, it was simply because my cousin asked for a gin and slimline tonic. I guess when you are used to people ordering Star, Club or Guinness it is a shock to the system when someone asks for a Bombay Sapphire. So Tim, went back and forth, checking if the drinks we ordered were at the bar, although the drinks were on the menu, it appears that Tim gave us the menu for the Restaurant (which was closed) as opposed to the bar. In the end we opted for the three whiskies with coke and then a vodka and coke (to keep it simple). Word to the wise, when you hire waiters, a simple run through of all the drinks you have on offer would help. You don’t have to be a drinker to know drinks, but at least let them be aware of what they are selling.
After the hassle over the first drink, we opted to decline a second. What was supposed to be a relaxing evening turned out to be quite stressful so decided to get the bill and ship out. We ask Tim for the bill, he tells us 97GHS. I don’t know where he got this figure from, it wasn’t written anywhere, it appeared to just come out of the air and it was wearing my patience very thin. So after some coaching, Tim goes out back, puts some numbers together and brings out a bill, I will not say the bill, because mathematics was obviously not his strong point and the numbers didn’t correlate to the one on the bill. Apparently he gave us the old menu and the prices had changed.
Now you have 4 very educated people on the table, 1 a qualified lawyer, and 1 with a legal background, don’t come and tell us that the price advertised is the old price, if you have changed the price, change the frigging menu mate.
After one very long lecture, we got an itemised billing, still with bad mathematics (apparently 6×6=46???), the cost of the bill went up to 100+, before Tim went and re-calculated (with the advertised prices) and the bill came down to approximately 84GHS (who would have known a calculator could perform such miracles).
The final blow came when, once we paid, I don’t know if Tim was actually nice but dim but thought that he was smart. The change should have come to about 6GHS but he bought a fiver to the table. Really, we all had one drink, it may have been a double, but we were all over the age of 35 and had experience in drinking. Two tots of spirit plus a mixture wasn’t enough to make us forget that 1 cedi was pending. Apparently, when he went to collect the change from the till it was one short so he had to get the remainder from somewhere else. Word to the wise, even if it has to take a few seconds more, get all the change before you bring it to the customer. It is up to the customer to give you the little money, it is not for the customer to say don’t worry when you delay. Unfortunately for Tim, there were 3 British people at the table, so no service no tip…lol
That was the end of the night, Tim didn’t get a tip (sorry mate, but you really didn’t deserve it) and left. It has however given me another idea for a business. When I was at Lloyds TSB bank, as part of the induction process someone came and gave us to teach us on customer service. It is something that I have always taken away from and used to train staff in subsequent jobs so, another sting to my bow. I have always used it in jobs and to train my direct reports since, and I know it would benefit the service community in Ghana. So if you are a business person in Ghana from Chop Bar to Bank, I am well equipped to train your staff (for a fee). So email me if you think I can add benefit your business (another shameless plug for another job opportunity…).
Well it’s after lunch yet I have yet to eat so I am off to find something to fill my belly.
Until the next time