7 January 2013

Namibia: Suppliers Let Windhoek Hotels Down

AT LEAST two hotels and one restaurant were caught off-guard during the past festive season because of problems with suppliers.

Teun Engbers, the director of operations at the five-star Hilton Hotel, says they experienced an unusually high number of non-resident guests in their restaurants over the past holidays.

Due to this surge in guests from outside, they experienced "a minor shortage of certain menu items".

He emphasised that "where possible, guests were offered alternatives. We deeply regret any inconvenience this may have caused our valued customers."

Engbers says they were particularly affected on December 26 and 27. Asked which items were out of stock, he said: "Several items. I absolutely understand that there were issues. There were not many bookings but we received a lot of walk-ins. Unfortunately, we could not offer everybody what they wanted."

By December 28, "it was almost back to normal", he said.

Rudie Putter, general manager of Kalahari Sands, says they also encountered problems with suppliers. "We had supplier problems. On Christmas Day, we couldn't get some of our normal suppliers."

He says this necessitated them to make use of alternative suppliers. They served over 400 guests on Christmas Day alone, he said.

Putter said that they battle with suppliers every December. "I don't know whether the guys plan badly. In Namibia, we still have a lot to learn. One should ensure that you have enough stock or go source it elsewhere."

Henk Baard, manager at Primi Piatti, yesterday said that they had completely run out of red meat and pizzas on Wednesday. By yesterday, the situation had been restored, he said.

According to a manager at Safari Hotel, they experience low season during December and January. "We were very quiet. Like every year, people go to the North or to Swakopmund."

He said they accommodated a limited number of guests for meals because most of their staff are on leave. "We mostly catered for in-house guests and then a few from outside."

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