Beluga blogger ban: ‘Blonde’ legal and service reaction


Yesterday Twitter was a-buzz with the news that Beluga restaurant owner Oskar ‘Blonde’ Kotze had banned blogger Shaun Oakes from his restaurant, because his girlfriend had written to him to share their poor service experience at the restaurant with him. It is rare that one sees such a reaction to an incident on Twitter.  A link was provided in a comment on Oakes’ blog to our Sour Service Award given to Beluga, for similar heavy-handed treatment by Kotze, and had a record of more than 1000 unique views yesterday.  The volume of activity about the Beluga ban was reminiscent of the Portofino owner and customer interaction, which was featured on the 2Oceansvibe website almost two years ago.

In short, the service from the waiter was poor and he was cheeky, the couple complained, received the meal and drinks on the house, and the girlfriend sent an e-mail to Kotze, to which Kotze sent an angry reply, all of which Oakes documented in his blogpost. This was Kotze’s ‘Blonde’ (Oskar loves blonds and ‘Blonde’ is the name of his failed restaurant in Gardens) reply: 

“The fact that you swore at my waiter **** is completely unacceptable – I have convinced him to lay a criminal case against you, and the company will back him all the way – its the year 2011 and no one has the right to speak to people the way you did – even your mail below is degrading and condescending. From my side, I am sorry that I was not here, I would have chased you out of my restaurant if I was. As to your personality, lack of manners and general attitude to life I will refrain from commenting – the fact that you even have the audacity to contact me and threaten me after what you did – seriously, wow, what a joke.  This will be the last communication that you will receive from me – I have asked ***** to provide me with your ID number so that we can use that for the criminal case.  Obviously I never want you to come close to any of my businesses ever again – and if your friends condone the way to deal with people, and you convince them not to come to my restaurants, well then that will also be ok”.

Beluga is completely out of line in its reaction to Oakes and his girlfriend:

*   The restaurant has lost not just one couple as clients, but possibly hundreds too, if the more than hundred comments posted to Oakes’ blogpost is anything to go by, the majority of commenters disparaging the poor service and poor quality food at the restaurant.  Very few positive comments were seen to be in support of Beluga.  Capetonians who had not been to Beluga even wrote that they would not try it out, because of Kotze’s action.

*   There is no legal action that Beluga’s waiter can take against Oakes, as he and his girlfriend have not contravened any law

*   Beluga’s action is illegal relative to the new Consumer Protection Act, which does not allow one to discriminate against customers in any form

*   Beluga’s action goes against all norms of customer service.  Yesterday we wrote about a new initiative of the Department of Tourism to introduce a National Service Excellence standard for the tourism industry, which would include restaurants, and it contained a service standard of : Service: should be friendly, professional, guest focused and driven, and offer an effective service recovery”, none of which is reflected in Kotze’s action!

Oakes could lay a charge against Beluga for discrimination against him as a customer with the National Consumer Commission, as well as the Western Cape Consumer Protector, that is if he would ever want to return to Beluga.  The treatment we received from Kotze, in sending the police to evict me from the restaurant as an invited guest due to giving sister restaurant Sevruga a Sour Service Award, and other feedback I have heard from past staff, makes one wonder why action has not been taken against Beluga and its owner!  The only winner in the Beluga blogger ban is Oakes, whom most other bloggers had not heard of before, but whose blog will have achieved a record number of hits yesterday, and who has become one of the best-known bloggers in Cape Town overnight.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter:@WhaleCottage

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24 replies on “Beluga blogger ban: ‘Blonde’ legal and service reaction”

  1. This is such a non-issue, yet there’s so much noise about it?!

    My view is that Oakes’ girlfriend could have emailed her complaint without essentially threatening the owner (by saying she and he and their friends were all bloggers.) It wasn’t necessary and would piss anyone off.

    Beluga, rightfully pissed off, should have been far more graceful in their response. Customer (regardless of how pathetic they are) is king.

    Case cosed.

  2. I agree Dale.

    It’s easy to fire off an e-mail when one is angry, and Kotze should have read it a second time before sending his e-mail.


  3. “Beluga’s action is illegal relative to the new Consumer Protection Act, which does not allow one to discriminate against customers in any form”.

    ….that’s not true and well you know it Chris.
    “right of addmission” is still reserved.

  4. The thing that makes me really laugh is how people are making fun about the “influential blogger” line… the fact is that he blogged about it and it was the #1 trending topic in South Africa. That seems pretty influential to me!

  5. Dear Ryan

    I am not a lawyer, but have studied the Consumer Protection Act closely. Any form of discrimination, including ‘right of admission reserved’ is discriminatory!


  6. the consumer protection act (and discrimination)has all to do with colour, creed,sex, disability,etc…and rightfully so

    and has little to do with behavior,appropriate dress code,reputation,etc,etc…and rightfully so

    by your line of thought a bar could not turn away an already very drunk consumer and clubs and restaurants could no longer excersize a dress code.

  7. Discrimination is discrimination, in whichever form Ryan.

    ‘Behavior’ (sic) is a subjective evaluation, and banning based on this is discrimination. The Act does exclude actions which could lead to physical danger, but this was certainly not the Beluga case.

    I am surprised that as a restaurant owner you are condoning such discriminatory practices.



  8. well,we’d need to agree to disagree.

    of course you would go the “Discrimination is discrimination” route.

    do you allow pets in your guest houses?

    I think I have made my point and enough people would understand that an establishment is entitled to it’s own rules regulations and code of conduct.

  9. Right or wrong, surely the customer is always the customer?

    Without customers they are just a nice building with nice decoration.

  10. anyone who dines at beluga deserves what they get and that includes food poisoning but hey its got a lecker vibe man as the capetonians say and with most peole these days the food doesnt really matter as long as its cool !!!

    am i getting old 🙂

  11. Chris, why don’t you go to Beluga and test your discrimination theory in relation to the Consumer Protection Act? It does sound to me, with the level of detail you have studied the act, that you are finding every opportunity to test it.

  12. Dear Paul

    I have been evicted from Beluga once already, so don’t need to test their ‘discrimination theory’ any further. At that time the Consumer Protection Act was not in place unfortunately.


  13. Dear Ryan

    No house rules or regulations or code are above the law!

    We do not allow pets, but they have not as yet been defined as people, and there is no law demanding that pets be accepted (yet)!


  14. I am a loyal Beluga,Sevruga customer,and regardless of what anyone says,there food,and service is great.

    People who take humor up so seriously,should really just rather put a sock in in,and stay at home!!!!

    They are unhappy people,and will always have a problem with everything!!!

    Oskar,and the whole Caviar team, well done,and I salute your success,the food and SERVICE!!!!


  15. What she was looking for with this quote:
    “What I would like to point out, Oscar, is that both Shaun and I are bloggers/writers, having good friends who are the top bloggers in Cape Town. Shaun works at the biggest internet marketing company.”

    A free meal lifetime?

    I agree that the waiter was way over friendly, but they should ask for a new waiter from the begin, instead of looking for faults and for a free meal like any f*%$#ing blooggers does!

    That is all they look for: mistakes and free meal for them and friends!

  16. i’ll be going to beluga more after this.
    condescending self obsessed lady who had no need to send a message of the tone she did.
    free meal and changed waiter. leave it at that.
    no one cares u know a lot of people in the blogging world.
    everyone is a blogger these days.
    this article also seems a bit one sided, in not showing what the girlfriend said.
    but i suppose all bloggers will be behind her. and the rest of us common folk might just be the only ones to see how much of a bitch she was being.

    feel free to ban me from reading your blogs. haha

  17. Oh dear… I think the last couple of comments are purposely detracting from the point. One word for Beluga restaurant, the waiter and owner – COCAINE. Us common folk do deserve better, that was the girlfriend’s point.

  18. On Sat 8 August 2015, my
    husband and I left Beluga after witnessing the most
    disgusting staff abuse by the owner.We heard crockery being
    thrown,followed by verbal abuse (which I shall not repeat since it was
    so vulgar) of one of the hostesses.She ran to the toilet in fear,sobbing
    and screaming. She was clearly in fear and vocalised it.He had thrown
    more crockery at her as she fled to the toilet.We were so disgusted and
    disturbed!!We left immediately and are now going to make sure that
    everyone knows how Beluga Greenpoint’s owner treats his staff.Still in
    shock!!!‪I have written on Beluga’s website wall, FB wall, twitter handle, and no comment. Have written on other restaurant review blogs/websites and not much has been done. Zero response from HelloPeter. The most responses I’ve received have been via FB, after sharing my experience. Many have inboxed me to say that the owner is known for mistreating his employees but they are scared to take matters further. I am considering going to the media. His behaviour was disgusting!!! — feeling disgusted.

    • Oskar Kotze has a dreadful reputation for his treatment of customers too.

      There is little that you can do directly Carmen, other than hope that many readers see your Facebook post.

      HelloPeter only takes complaint againt payment, which is shocking!

      Definitely write on their TripAdvisor page.

      Ultimately karma will sort him out! There is already industry talk that his business is in financial trouble!

      • Thank you for your reply Chris. Will definitely write to TripAdvisor as well.

        Yes, one cannot spend a lifetime acting like that and think it will never come back in one way or another…

        Been reading about what he did to the blogger in 2012!!Well done for exposing him!!This man is something else!!

        • He banned me too, because I awarded the sister restaurant Sevruga a Sour Service Award!

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