Last night turned out to be an unexpected trip to the well-known “Gay District” of Illovo with a few friends.
Most of the day was spent lying under an umbrella next to the pool trying to escape the sun. While sipping on chilled champers, we hoped that the ever building clouds on the horizon would bring some rain to relieve the oppressive heat emanating from the earth and surrounding buildings.
Once the sun had set, we rallied enough to get ourselves off our sun loungers, dressed and ready to head out to see what the surrounds of Sandton had to offer. Being the 2nd of January many places were closed, I guess as most people are away from Johannesburg on holiday, and businesses use this time to give their staff leave as well.
We headed through to Illovo and while waiting to hear back from our friends about what time they would be joining us, decided to grab a drink and possibly something to eat at Beefcakes. Beefcakes tout themselves as the best burger and cocktail joint in Johannesburg. The fact that their scantily clad staff are not bad on the eye makes it an all-round great place to hang out before heading to nearby bars and clubs.
We grabbed at seat at the fairly deserted bar; the entire restaurant must have had at maximum of twenty-five people scattered amongst the tables. We decided that cocktails would be in order, my friend ordered a martini and myself a frozen mojito. My friend’s Martini was terrible, the glass was half empty and the contents barely palatable, whilst my mojito was so sickly sweet I felt ill about a quarter of the way through – not the best start to our evening.
We were chatting and waiting for friends, when the drag show started. Beefcakes are well-known for its outrageous and entertaining drag shows, in fact, Friday nights are known as “Fags, Hags and Drag” on their website. Not there for the show we had opted to sit at the bar, so we could shoot out when our friends arrived.
About three minutes into the show the barman came over and, rather sheepishly, informed us that the owner had said that although we were sitting at the bar, we would need to pay R 80 to watch the show. We said that we didn’t want to pay as we weren’t sure what our plans were, but he replied that unfortunately it was non-negotiable. Suffice to say, we left and went to another restaurant next door, where we stayed and ate.
So here’s my question. Would you, as a restaurant owner, during possibly the quietest week of the year for the restaurant industry, chase away potential business? Who knows, we may have ordered dinner had we been enjoying the show, we may have urged our friends to stay when they got there, which would have meant more business, drinks and dinner for them. To me, this makes not one iota of sense, rather encourage people to stay and keep the atmosphere pumping in the bar as opposed to chasing away your patrons? I understand that a business has rules but if you are clearly not full, I am sure those rules can be bent to accommodate and work around a situation that surely cannot be good for business (staff wages, overheads, performers to pay etc.)
Let me know your thoughts on the above, and any other contributions you may have, not only on restaurants, but any lifestyle, fashion or events that you find interesting/controversial. http://www.heatherhook.com/contact/