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Posts Tagged ‘Cafes’

I didn’t think it was possible but last Saturday before I left for the UK  Sue and I experienced bad Mojo.

The cafe at the Wellington Zoo has had a chequered career with a baseline of the expectedly-disappointing fare commonly served at public attractions where customers are as nearly as limited for choice as the inhabitants. Elderly sausage rolls, stale sandwiches, beige coffee.

Some years ago, in an inspired move, the powers that be leased the space to Eva Dixons for a period. For the first time the zoo cafe became a place for locals to hang out as well as an attraction for visitors. It did well. The the contract expired and the zoo (or council?) awarded the contract to Spotless Catering with the aim of securing higher margins. Spotless handles catering for workplace cafetarias. And the stadium. Say no more. The locals stopped coming.

Imagine the excitement when the contract was up for renewal. Again. And this time it was awarded to a Mojo franchise. At this point I don’t know where to start. All I can say is that Mr Mojo should check out the clauses in the franchise agreement relating to quality and consistency of experience. It was the worst cafe meal I have had in Wellington for years. In an astonishing feat they managed to couple abysmally bad food with gobsmackingly bad service.

We should have taken its near emptiness at 10:30am on a Saturday morning as a Bad Sign.

I don’t know where to start so here is a list:

  • The food: We both ordered scrambled eggs and bacon (with toast on the side). As a nice touch we were offered the choice of five grain sourdough toast or toasted bagel with it. Sue chose the bagel, I had the five grain. The eggs and toast were delivered to us minus the bacon. Sue’s appeared with what appeared to be white toast. She enquired about her bagel and got a blank look. “We don’t serve bagel here.” Meanwhile I had been given what appeared to be half a loaf of five grain bread in enormous lukewarmed slabs. Peeking out from behind this was a modest tablespoon of fairly revolting, unsalted scrambled eggs. Overcooked to dry curdles leaching a bed of liquid. Sue commented it was just like hospital food.  We asked for the bacon we had ordered and already paid for. “Of course”. No sign. Repeatedly asked everyone who came past. No sign. Eventually, well after we had finished our eggs, we each received a plate with three slightly moist strips of bacon.
  • The drinks: Sue ordered a long black. When it was eventually delivered she asked for some hot water as it was so strong. “Of course”, came the cheerful response. No sign of it. We then flagged no less than three other perky yet unefficient wait staff who without exception all said. “Of course”. And failed to bring it. Eventually I got up and went direct to the barista who was standing with several giggling colleagues and appeared to be groping the original person we asked. Or maybe it is just a friendly environment. They looked surprised but in due course delivered the water.
  • The drinks – addendum – Sue ordered a fruit smoothie, I ordered an orange juice. I was given a plastic bottle of processed juice without being offered a glass. Sue’s smoothie was eventually delivered and she described it as mixed fruit juice on ice. Certainly not a smoothie.
  • The service – I think we have covered this and I can feel myself steaming again just thinking about it. There was a very efficient young English woman there. She wiped tables. Delivered water without asking. And was the person who eventually (and on her first go) got us the missing parts of our meal. She should find a job somewhere else before she decends into depressed mediocrity. I can suggest the Mojo in the Meridien Energy building on Queens Wharf. Now that is a cafe that can teach a thing or two about service and efficiency.

I won’t be going back to Mojo at the Zoo and very strongly recommend no-one else bothers either. If you are trapped there with small children viewing wild animals. Bring them snacks in snaplock containers and head into Newtown after for brunch or coffee at Pranah.

A final note. Ambience and location. There were cute animals viewable through floor to ceiling glass from the cafe. I don’t think Mojo can take credit for that though.

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