Clients claim Cape catering company’s service leaves bad taste
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Weddings in ruins, birthday parties and matric ball celebrations descending into chaos, hungry guests, family members running around like “headless chickens” trying to make a plan B for food. And that’s only scraping the surface.
The list of complaints against a Cape Town catering company is growing daily. Unhappy customers who say their events were not quite the moments they were meant to be, are demanding their money back. However they claim they’re getting the “silent treatment” from the owner of Ruby’s Events and Catering.
Ruby’s Events and Catering, based in Belhar, boasts “more than 21 years culinary experience”.
The company says: “Ruby's Delights offers a variety of authentic mouth-watering home-made meals at an affordable price direct to the public.” But the company's Facebook page is awash with negative reviews and comments.
An irate client Luthmee April from Athlone, spent R5 500 on catering for 50 guests at her wedding. The money was paid in June, even though the event was only on September 24. “They drilled me for that money,” said April. "They gave me 24 hours to pay it.“ April said she chose the harvester catering option and a spit braai as her main course.
Ruby’s harvester table consists of: Chicken wings, chicken kebabs, chicken strips, stuffed eggs, meatballs in sweet chilli sauce, pies, mini gourmet burgers, samoosas, assorted fruit, assorted cheeses and biscuits. “I double checked with them again a day or two before the event and they said an 11am delivery suits them better,” recalls April.
She said when no food had arrived by noon, her family started calling the caterers. Hungry guests had to wait until 2.30pm when the harvester arrived. “Everything was cold and it was horrible,” says April. "That was just the harvest. The spit wasn’t there. They said another driver was going to bring it. And the salads were in another vehicle. It came at 3.30pm and we only had the venue until 5 o’clock.“
April added: Their salads were only enough for 10 people, so my sister-in-law went to go buy garlic loaves and salad. The meat from the spit braai wasn’t cut properly. I was in my wedding dress and helping, so people could eat.“
Her husband, Romeo April, said he was “gatvol” of talking about the disappointing service from Ruby’s. “There was a lot of stuff missing. We never got the Lindt chocolate or the edible flowers as promised. It was really unprofessional. Up until today we never got an email or a phone call from them.”
Ranelle Klazen from Brackenfell is another dissatisfied customer. She had paid Ruby’s to provide the snacks and food for her daughter’s pre-matric ball function on September 29. “I paid for their harvest table special for R49.99 a person for 50 people," she says. ”On the day of the function the food was supposed to arrive at my house at 4pm. At 15:32pm, I was notified via WhatsApp that the food will be late. I thought no problem, we don’t mind waiting an hour for the food, that should give them more than enough time to recover and get on track. We tried phoning them, texting, and nothing. No communication.“
Klazen bought pizzas in the meantime to feed her guests. She said Ruby’s eventually arrived with the food at 8.30pm. “I said I don’t want it anymore. I had to make alternative arrangements and I want my refund.”
Carmen Williams from Kensington said her experience with Ruby's also “left a bad taste”. She hired the company to cater for her sister's wedding on Heritage Day.
The food was to be delivered by 11.30am. “We phoned them constantly and they said the food was on its way. Food arrived at 2.30pm. The meat from the spit only arrived after 3pm. Our meat wasn’t cut up properly. The salad was too little. We ended up going to Spar to buy more salad. We only ate after 5pm. It was a nightmare because the venue was only booked till 5pm.”
The mobile number on the Ruby’s Events and Catering Facebook page is not in working. “This mailbox is full and cannot accept any more messages at this time,” is the message we got when Weekend Argus called. Several attempts to reach company owner Andre Jordaan for comment have been unsuccessful.
Lawyer Enrico Philander representing Ruby’s Events and Catering, which also trades as Double Option Trading 58, said: “Mr Jordaan is in hospital. And that has been communicated to his clients through myself and also through his Facebook platform. He’s had two heart attacks, he’s been in ICU for a while.” Philander would not be drawn on how long Jordaan has been in hospital, with some complaints about service stretching back to September. Other clients with existing bookings have told Weekend Argus they are unsure of whether Jordaan will make good on the catering agreement. Philander confirmed that “we've received instructions to refund clients where events could not take place due to Mr Jordaan's health situation and that process has been ongoing for the past few weeks”.
On the Ruby's Events and Catering Facebook page, was a “urgent announcement” post on Monday, which read: "To all clients who have requested a refund of vouchers please note that our attorneys have begun making payment to clients whilst conducting a verification process and it is anticipated that all payments to clients may be completed within a period of 30 days“.That post garnered 365 comments, mainly from angry clients.
Roslyn De Jager wrote: “Had to do my own thing on Friday after they disappointed me ... unprofessional. I just want my money back. That’s all.”
Janett Ogden wrote: “My event was 2 Oct. Food wasn’t delivered as promised. Around 5 my friends had to drive there, nothing was prepared, while my guests were waiting for food. Disgusting. I hope you have a better experience.”
Deslin Abrahams: “We paid for a service with no delivery...give our refund.”
Robyn Williams Mokua posted: “Sadly this happened to me in September as well with my son's dedication. The buffet did not arrive. I had to harass them to get my refund. I would have been more understanding if they had let me know instead of not deliver.”
Candice Patterson replied: “Disappointed, in your service. I just want my refund. I had to run around like a mad, crazy bride a day before my wedding. Unforgiving. Nobody informed me, about nothing (sic).”
Ant Lewis from Bellville, who’s already spent R2 000 on catering for a birthday party this coming Saturday, is wondering whether Ruby’s will honour their obligation. “This is my first time using their services and I have only heard good things. Last month I confirmed everything on WhatsApp. Everything was still good … Last week I saw the drama on Facebook and I have been trying to confirm my catering again. No reply… I’m giving out money again now to ensure I have catering next week. I will fight for my money back after my event.”
Several clients have confirmed that they have been refunded. But for people like the April family, they will remember their wedding day for the culinary chaos.