Well, it happened again today. We made the
mistake of waiting until we were actually hungry to find a restaurant.
Bad idea; food service is generally quite slow here.
It makes us realize how “American”
we are; we like to enjoy a leisurely meal with the best of them,
but once in a while we want our food fast. In this case, we chose
a burrito place (being from California, the epicenter of American
burritos, we wanted to see what a South African burrito was like).
The sign above the door read “Good Food Fast.” So
we walked in and ordered. There were two tiny tables to sit down,
but it was so bloody hot from the nearby kitchen that we waited
outside. That wasn’t the greatest idea either since it isn’t
the best part of town (loitering around outside a dive-ish restaurant
door is bound to make you a target for whoever walks by). So,
due to the lack of a good place to hang out while our burritos
were assembled, we were disappointed to end up waiting over half
an hour. Burritos just aren’t that complicated. Maybe they
sent someone out of the country to actually fetch them or something.
(Oh, and by the way, if you ever go to South Africa, there is
no need for you to sample the burritos.)
Another funny example is a restaurant whose
marketing ploy is that the time it takes from when you order lunch
until when you get your bill is only 59 minutes! Compare this
to a nifty little restaurant back in San Francisco that will serve
you a hot sandwich and salad in 5 minutes or it’s free,
and… well, it’s no comparison. Heck, compare it to
any restaurant where Americans eat during their lunch hour and
it doesn’t stand up so well. The funny thing is, the 59-minute
claim only references when you get your bill – your food
may take 50 of those minutes to arrive.
The point of all this being that either a)
South Africans really don’t ever have the need (or the desire?)
to get their food fast, or b) there’s an incredible business
opportunity for somebody to introduce the idea of fast-yes-we-really-mean-it-food
here. After some debate (and continued experiences at places ranging
from nice restaurants to coffee shops), we think it’s (a).