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“My favourite place ”
Review of The Birdcage

The Birdcage
Ranked #1 of 5 Dessert in Stellenbosch
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Cafe
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast
Description: The Birdcage is a small restaurant and gift shop in Stellenbosch. You will find us in the Aan de Gragt Building, Ground floor unit 3 & 4, right opposite Kauai in the De Wet Centre. We serve breakfast until 12h00 daily, light lunches from 09h00 to 17h00 and the most delicious cupcakes throughout the day. Our trading hours are,Mon - Fri from 09h00 to 17h00Saturdays from 09h00 to 13h00 (Breakfast served until 13h00)Sundays - closed.
Reviewed 14 July 2017 via mobile

I have never ever been disappointed here with anything on the food menu. The cakes are delicious ALL OF THEM!! and there toasted sandwiches are super tasty! Our waiter was abit grumpy but that didn't spoil our experience here as the food was great and all the other staff members are super friendly when walking in the door and leaving! I will always be back and will recommend it to everyone I know!!

Thank TaylorBrooke8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 68 reviews

Reviewed 30 June 2017 via mobile

Absolute terrible experience had by a friend of mine who needed the bathroom urgently being her period had just began. She, a regular customer, was publicly humiliated by the manager for "abusing" their bathroom facilities. She wanted to order something to drink but lost her appetite in the process. Schoking as the manager is a woman.

Thank Desiree U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beate S, Owner at The Birdcage, responded to this reviewResponded 3 July 2017

Dear Tripadvisor user

Thank you for your feedback and rating. You have made your point very clearly and I would like to take this opportunity to kindly do the same.

This is the first time ever that we are responding to a review on Tripadvisor but it is also the first time ever that we feel we are being judged unfairly.

First of all, I am one of the owners that was on duty the day this incident happened, your friend spoke to me. There are no managers at our store, only hands on owners.

Here we go,

1. Long before you and your friend visited us that specific day, we had started experiencing a MASSIVE increase in people walking in and just using our restroom facility. I am talking about customers literally walking from Checkers, Kauai and other cafés surrounding us, to just come and use our restroom. We tried to counter this problem as subtly as we possibly could by putting out a big black board at our entrance that clearly stated our restroom facility was for current customers only.
You say your friend was a regular, so she must have noticed this board some time before the incident happened.

2. Your friend walked past this board as she entered our store. Maybe she was too stressed to notice, I can completely understand if this was the case. Nonetheless, we were prepared and our sign was up.

3. Since this specific incident we have had to put up a permanent sign in our restroom that says if someone wants to use the restroom without buying anything, a fee of R10 will be charged.

4. As your friend entered she asked the waitress if she could just use the restroom, the waitress explained to her what our rules were. Your friend then quickly moved past the waitress on her way to the restroom. On your friend’s way to the restroom, she bumped into me while I was packing gifts on the one shelf and because I saw her talking to the waitress and knew what this was about I also explained to her that the restroom was for current customers only and that if she wanted to use it, she would have to purchase something. We have items on our display for as little as R7 – R9. Your friend then answered me by saying that “I will order a glass of water” and then she told me that this was an emergency. I did not reply but I let her use the restroom. Everybody knows a glass of water is free, your friend did too.

5. At our store we have one golden rule. WHAT YOU DO FOR ONE CLIENT YOU MUST DO FOR ALL CLIENTS. We treat a “regular” customer exactly the same as someone that visits us for the first time. And on that note, what exactly is a “regular” customer. Is it someone that visits you once a week, once a day, once a month? When does someone qualify as a “regular” customer and what rights does this title give them in your opinion?

6. We pay a hefty fee per square meter for that little space every month. This is a choice we made, this is the venue in the center of town we chose. On top of that we have spent a lot of money decorating it (being re painted this weekend again), because we want to make it pretty. We provide good quality, soft, double ply toilet paper. We always see that there is a proper, good quality diffuser in there. We provide a good quality hand wash and hand towels or paper towel / tissues for customers to dry there hands with.
The cost of this facility is not added to your coffee, tea, breakfast or lunch. This is what you call an “over head expense”. And for all of this that we offer, we only ask that you buy an item, any item, for as little as R7 – the price of our chocolate peanut butter cookies that are sold separately, also the cheapest item in our store.

7. Another fact that I would like to bring under your attention is that for us to be able to obtain our trading license, by law, we need to provide our customers with a restroom facility because we are a restaurant. Meaning that if we want people to consume food and / or drinks on our premises, we need to provide them with a restroom. If we were only a walk-in store or only sold gifts we would not have to provide a restroom. If it were not for the restaurant, we would not have a restroom. So if people do not buy food & drinks from us, why should we provide them with a free public toilet. The Birdcage is not a free public toilet and we do not advertise ourselves as such.

8. If this is a women’s rights issue, well then what about the hundreds of homeless woman on the streets of Stellenbosch. They also get their periods. If we were to provide a free public toilet on our premises, then all women should be able to use our facility, customers or not or else how would I go about classifying which women are allowed to use our restroom and which not? What would happen to our business then? How attractive would The Birdcage be as a breakfast, lunch or cake and tea venue if there were people queuing for the public toilet inside the restaurant? Who would be responsible for carrying the costs of this public toilet?

9. You mentioned that this is shocking, because I am a woman, therefore insinuating that I should especially know what an emergency like this can make you feel like. You are 100% correct, I am a woman and I do know. I am 32 years old and of having periods there is very little you can tell me. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Therefore I specifically also know that just because you have your period, does not mean you should leave your manners at home.

10. Your friend’s father also phoned me after this incident. Explaining to me that this can be a very bad name tag for a business to carry, that Stellenbosch can be a very small place if this is the way we treat students. Especially because students are such a big part of our customer base. He also explained to me that he works abroad and that he has taught his children to speak up for themselves and stand up for their rights.

11. This is quite a coincidence, because my father also works abroad. The funny thing is that all of us know that when you travel it is common practice abroad (UK, USA, AUS) that you should prepare yourself for ever so often having to pay at least 1 Euro or pay anything from R50 – R75 for an item as simple as a Coke, just because you need to use the train station’s or restaurant’s restroom.

12. Another, very important, thing my dad taught me is that it is not what you say but how you say it and that no matter what, you always treat people with respect. I approached your friend in a very kind and respectable way and she chose to answer me the way she did.

13. Your friend came out of the restroom, after the emergency had been taken care of, the two of you went outside and was sitting on the deck when you ordered your free of charge, glasses of water. You guys were making a mockery of our rules, that we did not hide, hence the black board outside our store.

14. This is only my personal opinion, but for me, this is exactly where the whole incident could have been turned around. The emergency was over and we did let your friend use our restroom. She was under no pressure and she had time to consider what had just happened. She could have just shown me the slightest courtesy buy adhering to our rules instead she chose to make fun of our rules by ordering a free glass of water.

15. I then asked for the assistance of my one business partner who was also at the store seeing that I had already approached your friend and your friend had made it clear that she does not care much for my request.

16. My business partner then took menus outside to your table and explained that you have to order something, because you had used the restroom and that a free glass of water does not qualify as buying or ordering an item from our menu because it is free.

17. The two of you then ordered fruit juices.

18. I am very sorry if your friend lost her appetite after this incident, but I can assure you I also did not have an appetite for the rest of the day. I did not enjoy this experience one bit. In fact it is one of the very few bad experiences that stands out after the almost 8 years I have been with The Birdcage. It is not fun being treated like this by anyone and to feel like someone “put you in your place” by being talked to the way your friend talked to me and this for simply stating my business’s rules / situation.

19. This is my home, I spend an average of 12 hours, 6 days a week at The Birdcage. I have been here from the very beginning. I would like to invite people into my home and offer them a good experience, hence my reason for being in the hospitality industry- but I would like people to treat myself, my “home”, my business partners and my staff members with the respect they expect from other people when visiting their homes.

Kind regards
Beate Strydom

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2017

I had my very best Cappuccino in South Africa here- what a wonderful surprise! And they introduced me to a yogurt dish with fabulous seeds. Fabulous selection of pastries, coffee's and light fare items in a charming, inviting space.

The staff were all super friendly and efficient - efficiency is not always expected in South Africa!

This place is a winner to take a break from sightseeing or to just pause and re-calibrate your day with a break!

Thank Robert T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2017

Wow! I had tea and cheesecake with a friend it was the best cheesecake ever. The interior is beautiful and the service was very good, I will come back here again and can recommend this restaurant to anyone

Thank Wanda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2017 via mobile

I am absolutely in love with the pork belly and gluten free chocolate cake. Their coffees and teas are good.
The service can be worked on but the food makes up for it. A must for any foodie, student, dessert freak, friends, family, just anyone.

Thank Lilé P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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