Brewer's Droop #233

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I arrived in Johannesburg at around 8.30pm one evening recently and stayed at a hotel in Rivonia. A basic hotel. They had some dispensing machines but I didn’t feel like Smarties for dinner so, from the menu kindly left in my room for my convenience, I dialled 9 and asked for a half chicken with no chips (yes, it’s a banting thing).


Sure that’ll be fine and she put me through (I think this was to Mr. Delivery).

I repeated my order and a lady asked me what sauce I wanted.

“No, no sauce, just a plain grilled chicken thanks”. They said it would take about half an hour.

It arrived about half an hour later and I paid the man (at R90 it was a bit more than I expected actually, considering a whole cooked chicken at Pick ‘n Pay is R60).

Then I emptied the contents of the packet onto a make-shift plate and stared in disbelief.

It looked like the skeletal remains of a starved rat.

I poked at it a bit, tried a couple of mouthfuls but the resemblance to a rodent’s bones was too much for me so I had a cup of tea and went to bed.

Stupidly, I didn’t think to take a photograph.

Anyway, the next day, I posted a complaint on Twitter and Facebook. I had an almost immediate response from Mr. Delivery who said they’d have a word with Nandos Rivonia (which was the branch who’d sent the bag of bones to me) and were very helpful.

About 4 hours later I had a call from someone who announced himself to be the manager of Nando’s Rivonia (and sounded like he was laughing). I couldn’t take the call and asked him if he could call back in a couple of hour’s time. He promised he would.

And that’s the last I heard from Nando’s.

Now, I don’t know if this standard (of food and service) is common throughout the Nandos organisation and I’m not about to try and find out.

But I am copying more Twitter complaints to every Nando’s outlet I can find in the world about how absolutely bloody awful their Rivonia branch is. And I’m also writing to their chairman.

I don’t expect to get any answers or apologies. But I do hope my experience puts thousands of people off ever buying anything from that shop ever again. So please forward this to as many friends as you can.


I do so hope this is true. It’s purported to be a letter from Mr. Mogotji who makes a brilliant point.

Reference: Account received in respect of ‘supposed toll fees due”.


I recently received in the mail an account from your office stating that I am to date indebted to the SANRAL Toll Agency in an amount exceeding R 8000.00.

Our Honourable President, on the entire saga of the R 246 million upgrades that were made at his private residence in Nkandla, categorically and emphatically stated that he never asked and or requested for the upgrades to be made to his private residence, and in line with the fact that he didn’t ask for it to be done, cannot be held accountable and or liable to pay back any amount of the R 246 million that the government spent without his consent and or request.

In line with this example set, by the Honourable esteemed State President of the Country, I never asked, requested or indicated in any way that I would like the government of Gauteng to indeed contract with SANRAL, the Government owned South African National Roads Agency Limited, to incur loans in excess of R 20 billion to build any toll roads or claimed to upgrade the roads in the province.

In line with this esteemed example set, I cannot be held liable and or accountable to pay any of the money that is “claimed” that is due by me in respect of the toll fees.

Ironically, the roads, which I travel and frequent are roads that were built by the National Party Government prior to 1994, financed from monies raised in the roads levy that was included in the price of petrol, so I am flabbergasted that the agency now has the audacity to bill me for the roads that they didn’t even built and or financed.

In line with the fact that I cannot be held accountable and or liable in any way, for the “alleged toll fees that are due,” I wish to advise you to send the relevant accounts to the offices of the ANC Provincial Government and or ANC National Government in order for them to oblige and comply in paying the amount which you claim that I am due to SANRAL.

I presume that you would have their e-mail address and postal address on record and that I therefore need not supply you with such details.

Please therefore in future refrain from sending me any accounts that are due in respect of “apparent toll fees” that are due by my, as I emphatically, and without any shadow of doubt never asked, requested anyone to upgrade the roads and then hold me liable for the costs.

Thanking you for your assistance in this regard.


Fanie M Mogotji.

If anyone knows this guy I’d be thrilled to know if he got a response.


Well, there’s hardly a Droop goes by where I don’t have something to say about SAA. It’s not personal, it’s just that they do so many things the wrong way. In fact, I’ve been suggesting to government for years that they sell this Albatross and it looks like they might actually be doing that – but they’re starting with just hiving off 30% because governments can’t understand how business is run and hate to give up or admit they’re wrong. They’ll eventually dump the full 100% of course.

While they’re about it, they should do the same thing with Eskom.

But a story in one of the business papers caught my eye recently and I haven’t seen anyone else commenting on it.

It seems that, to cut costs, CEO Nico Bezuidenhout and chairwoman Dudu Myeni, are in favour of discarding used blankets, magazines and left-over food at the destination on SAA’s long distance flights in order to make the plane lighter and therefore use less fuel. (And then magically make a profit.)

Mark Vaughn, SAA’s “head of fuel” (strange title I know) says that for every extra kilogram on a long-haul flight, about one-third of a litre of fuel is used.

Frankly, I don’t understand the logic behind dumping a blanket that costs more than the fuel used to get it in the air. But perhaps I’m just stupid. Or maybe it’s some weird accountancy trick?

Anyway Mark, since you’re in charge of the fuel, why don’t you tell your bosses of the ingenious fly-by-weight plan? It’s not new but it makes a lot of sense.

Let me explain. I was standing in a queue recently and checking my bag in. It weighed 20kg on the dot.

The girl behind me had a problem because her bag weighed 30kg so she had to pay a “surcharge” (or whatever it is you call it).

But here’s the thing. I weigh 90kg so if I add that to my 20kg suitcase I represent a total of 110kg.

The girl couldn’t have been more than 60kg and if you add that to her 30kg bag you get 90kg.

I think you can probably see where I’m going with this can’t you?

Why does she have to penalised?

The simplest thing to do is to calculate the base rate per kg. Everyone checking in has to stand on a scale, with their bags, and pay according to weight.

Now that can’t be too difficult to do can it? And it’s a better idea than chucking blankets away.

And those people with really big bottoms should be forced to take two seats – at full price (or they could use a “companion ticket” where one cheek flies for free when the other cheek pays full fare.


Starting Wednesday, I’ll be writing a weekly story on Advertising and Marketing for BizCom.

Please check it out if you have a moment (and remember there’s a new one every week):
Biz Com


I never doubted for a moment that the Proteas will lift the World Cup. Our guys are a joy to behold.



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  1. Hey Chris, I agree with you about nando’s. I complained once and only got a shrug.

    You’re “two cheeks for the price of one” had me rolling on the floor laughing though!!!

    Good luck with Bizcom too.

  2. What a coincidence – I was only talking about ‘fly-by-weight’ the other day and I agree fully! As I weigh a mere 45 kg, it would certainly benefit me to be able to check in a little more weight without being penalised – particularly when returning from my holiday destination with a shortage of extra funds.

    And as you say – what would make this difficult?

  3. suggestion for SAA: special offer,
    Overweight? don’t worry, just take both bum cheeks and seats, for the price of two

  4. As always I thoroughly enjoy your ‘Droop’ . All the best with Bizcom, looking forward to it.

  5. Hi Chris

    Add Telkom (minimum of 10 days to attend to a line fault) to your list
    And also MTN, “what’s service?”

    • Couldn’t agree more on the MTN issue – I have been trying unsuccessfully since mid-December to have repairs effected to my phone, which is insured by them!

    • Fully agree with you there… Telkom, 3 months waiting, over 40 emails, 24 hours call time… Still nowhere.

  6. I wonder how many thousands of people there are in the world who HATE nandos as much as I do? You can’t find ruder staff anywhere – and their food? bloody awful.

  7. Hahaha I love the Sanral letter and feel the same as him. Also Nandos is shocking and recently in London I went into a Nandos that had no chicken? I was offered a haloumi wrap with the range of peri peri sauces though, but who goes to Nandos for anything but chicken?

  8. Good one, Chris. When you want to take on life insurance companies, do come to me for material. I have LOADS, in particular, DON’T pay insurance companies who will do anything and everything not to pay your claim. I would have been better off putting 20 years worth of premiums into a bank!

  9. If Nando’s were half as good as their advertising, they’d be an international franchise by now… wait, what?

    Nando’s folks, demonstrates the power of advertising. How terrible, terrible food can be world famous simply by having legends at the helm of the Advertising.

    • I can’t remember the quote exactly, or who said it, but it was along the lines of “even the most brilliant advertising will not save a bad product in the long run”

    • Your ignorance is embarrassing. Investigate and think before next time.

      • Don’t have a clue what you mean Gavin. Try harder next term.

  10. I second what Rebecca says. If you ever write on Life Companies I have so much to say about Sanlam and Old Mutual. The Life Ombudsman was absolutely NO help either. Never spend money with either of them – ever! Another gripe – why do I always get seated next to a VERY large person who should be paying for 2 seats when they fly? It happens 90% of the time…….. Saying “there’s not much room here is there?” has had abysmal results. PS I loathe Nandos. The Leaping Frog branch once had the audacity to deliver rotten chicken in one of our orders. They replaced it immediately but its put me off for good

  11. Hi Chris,
    We have a brand new Nandos in Swindon which has opened at the new Regent Circus development near the town hall.
    I assume that you don’t recommend Nandos then!
    Ha ha

    • Ha! Well, if you actually went to their restaurant/eatery and could see what you’re getting before paying then it might be okay. But when you order a take-away then there’s not much you can do really. (I mean, I’m not about to drive their and return their boney chicken!)

  12. Please ask Bizcom to send me a weekly link to your column; I don’t remember to go looking for things on my own.

  13. Hi Chris, re the bony Nando’s saga, why don’t you give Robbie Brozin a call. He is one of the two Nando’s founder. One of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet and an outstanding business brain. Trust me, he will get things sorted. I am not sure whether he is still involved on a day-to-day but he sure as hell still owns the majority of the shares. Good luck. Tell Robbie I said you should call him!

    • Thanks Lynn – a good idea. Meanwhile someone from Nando’s has offered to show me “how good Nando’s really is”.

      Watch this space.

  14. My daughter was pestering me for a Nando’s and finally I bowed to the pressure and took her to the Melville branch. WeI also got “starved rat” bags of bones. There was no meat on it, just sinews and a miniscule amount of meat. The flavour of the sauce was good, one needed to eat a whole chicken to get a big enough portion to satisfy even a child. Can Nando’s tell us who is supplying their chickens. I think they are buying up those scrawny layers that have come to the end of their egg laying lives and are usually sold in the townships. I think it is time to “show us the money and the chicken”.

    • Sarah,

      I’m finding out and will let you know.


  15. I have to disagree. I am a total fan of Nando’s. The food is outstanding. Yes it is a little more expensive but it is legendary.

    I frequent their Norwood branch which is fantastic. I also went recently to their new Blackheath branch which is a completely new experience. Different menu and great service.

    I eat Nando’s 10 times a month. I have never experienced poor value for money.

    Lynn is correct about Robbie Brozin. He is a great man who takes his business seriously.

    • Quite the lad about town then Gavin!

      You clearly know all the “in” places to go…Blackheath, Norwood, where will your adventures take you next I wonder?

      Nando’s chicken every 3rd day? That makes you a culinary expert too.

      Get help.


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