Much is said about how waiting stuff are put upon. Much is said about the terrible pay, conditions and hours with which they suffer. Yet I note below nothing has been said about the lack of basic ability of our initial waitress we had in Addis. I enter and ask for a table for eight. She looks confused. Waiter sorts us out. She comes to take our drink order. Returns five minutes later to tell us that of the extensive eight types beer list they have only Stella and Becks. She then returns five minutes later and proceeds to open the bottles of beer at our table before distributing them wrongly.

There is a cheery if not quite best practice compact between customer and staff in a restaurant whose cuisine you are not altogether au fait with. You try to say the name, they repeat it back properly perhaps with some resort to either the number of the dish on the menu or pointing. We jumped straight to the number method with this girl as it was quite clear that not only was English not her first language, but it was not numbered in any of her languages whatsoever. Again there is a slight compact between staff and customer in this kind of restaurant that this might happen, however she was plainly not Ethiopian either so the reason behind this compact, and hence this ineptitude was never made clear (one only assumes that she is tremendously cheap to hire). Not undestanding even the numbers we offered, we had to resort to pointing which always makes me feel uncomfortable and patronising. After slowly making her way around the table, she missed out two orders and scurried back to the kitchen. After five minutes her male compadre had to come back and double check everything (which again annoyed us and still did not work).

Why does Tom miss her out in apportioning blame below? True a restaurant is a team effort, but as said the food wasn’t bad. Service is the key, and for all the extra work she caused the place probably could have run with just the one waiter. But since ten munutes away there are three other Ethiopian restaurants which all have good service, it is unlikely I will get to see this happen.