What I thought would be a quiet cappuccino and cookie, turned into being harangued for an hour by a manager who should either find alternative employment or be fired, as he is not doing the reputation of Caracoli a lot of good.
He did not like my review. Fine, I am not in the business of PR for a coffee shop that is not the best in town. Put a sign outside saying you serve the best coffee in Guildford, a sign that is illegally obstructing the highway, is asking for trouble.
If a a review highlights problems then address the problems, but do not complain.
And yes I am happy to discuss issues raised, and offered, once served a coffee, was willing to sit and discuss in a civilised manner.
But no, had to stand for an hour listening to his petty gripes, and demonstrable ignorance on coffee.
Barista surly. Maybe not always surly, maybe a bad day, but on the day I was served, she was surly to the point of being rude. I can only describe what I find.
Another bad point of manager, and why he is not fit to be a manager, you do not discuss a member of staff with a customer, unless invited to join the discussion. I felt quite sorry for her, she was trying to do her job within earshot and looked very uncomfortable.
Comany policy to put chocolate in a cappuccino. In that case company policy is wrong. You always ask. That they may not ask in Costa, is irrelevant unless you consider yourself to be in competition with Costa, but then do not masquerade as a quality coffee shop.
I had been told by barista it says included chocolate. I looked on the board. It does not.
He claimed the coffee beans shows roast date.
I pointed out, that when I was looking and could find no roast date, I was asked by a member of staff, could they help me. A member of staff who from our conversation, unlike the manger, was knowledgeable on coffee. I said yes, and queried lack of roast date. Staff member agreed, and said he could tell me beans had been roasted ten days ago. That is fine, if one asks, but it should actually say.
Manager pointed to a series of digits below best by date, that needed a magnifying glass to read. A cursory glance and would assume a batch no. It did not actually say roast date, simply a sequence of digits.
I just about manged to read. I was shocked by what I saw, and queried to check that what I saw was correct.
The beans were roasted last October, ie October 2015, yes? He agreed yes.
No quality coffee shop would sell beans this old, they are long past their optimum.
With this he disagreed, demonstrating his appalling level of ignorance.
I had noticed before no aroma coming from the bag. I had assumed poor quality packaging. That may be the case, but now I can see may also be due to the age of the beans, long past their optimum.
This is why, often do not see roast date, as then can sell beans not at their best to unsuspecting customers.
If there was anything wrong with our coffee, customers would complain. Not really, there are too many coffee shops that serve undrinkable coffee and they are still in business.
Nothing wrong with our web site. Er, yes, except it provides no information on your coffee.
He made a coffee, which was brought out to the terrace.
Watching him make the coffee, he did at least understand that needed to be ground fresh for each coffee. Whether he understood why, a moot point.
It was not good, the surly barista did a better job.
To erect a board outside claiming best coffee in Guildford is laughable. Not undrinkable as would expect from Costa, Caffe Nero or tax-dodging Starbucks, but not good either, not something I would wish to drink again. I left it half drunk.
Now I could see why they added chocolate. To disguise the fact that not very good coffee. Poor quality beans (one wonders how old), lack of ability of the guy who made the coffee.
The terrace is on a suspended glass floor. Whilst I was sitting there, one of the panes shattered. Not spontaneous there was a reason why.
Concerned by what saw, I tried to take a picture highlighting the multiple fractures. It was like car windscreen when hit by a stone.
Manager appeared, shouting at me, wanting to know what I was doing, why I was taking a picture.
I showed him the shattered glass pane, explained the terrace was not safe, and he had to have structural engineers in to check, and that in the meantime, the terrace had to be closed off.
He then blatantly lied, claimed it had been like it for some time. Not true, as minutes before I had witnessed it shatter.
To ‘prove’ it was safe, he walked onto the glass pane. An unbelievable act of crass stupidity. I watched the pane flex. None of the other panes flexed.
He then went on to make a complete fool of himself, claiming he as manger understood the structure of the building, as that was his job. He is managing a coffee shop, and not doing a very good job, but now he is a structural engineer responsible for the building. If it was not so serious, it would be laughable.
I was then ordered to leave, I was only there to cause trouble, and if did not leave, security would be called.
I replied fine, please call security, I will ensure the media is present.
He stormed off, threatening if I ever walked in again I would be escorted out by security.
Begs the question what security?
I left a little while later.
As I walked down the stairs, I looked up and could clearly see the fractures. At risk was not only anyone falling through, but anyone below.
Below it is a different store, Steam Trading, selling pots and pans and similar goods. Caracoli occupies the second floor of the building.
I asked for the store manger. An acting manager was available.
I showed her the problem.
She said she had already had to rope off part of her store due to previous cracked pane.
She apologised for the manner in which I had been treated and thanked me for drawing the danger to her attention. She said she would have to contact the owners of the building, and assured me whatever the manger of Caracoli may think, the terrace would be taken out of use.
What I also observed a waiter from North Africa who I had not seen before. A pleasant guy, friendly, but not being well treated, bordered on racism.
Caracoli need to send senior management into this coffee shop, both manager and surly barista need to be kicked out on their ear, you do not, as the manger tried it on, fool around with health and safety, potentially putting lives at risk.
Serious breaches of health and safety, especially if it puts lives at risk, leads in most companies to instant dismissal, as does cavalier attitude to health and safety.