De Vette Mossel has announce that they will be declining the Municipality’s approval to take over the popular Dutchies Summer Lounge site at Grotto Beach, preferring instead to set up at the Prawn Flats with a promise of ten new jobs and unusual hiring and employment practices.
“Of the two sites, the Prawn Flats site is our preferred site, by far, and for a number of reasons. Our aim is to try to open in December and (we) are busy with the necessary processes to obtain final permissions… This will take time, but we are committed to it, and determined that all requirements be fully met before we open,” said Niël du Bois, founder of Die Vette Mossel in a posting on The Village NEWS Facebook site on 27 October.
According to him, his son Gustave and his wife, Charné, will operate and own De Vette Mossel @Hermanus. Gustave currently runs the operations of all the restaurants from home in Hermanus while Charné, an ex-Emirates air hostess, has an online jewellery business called Dandalion Gifting. Charné has been an instructor and lifeguard at See en Sand and won the “ystervrou” on her first time doing the course.
In a separate interview, Niël adds, “We will create some 10 new job opportunities, of which at least 80 – 85% will be local jobless people from previously disadvantaged communities. In the construction phase, an additional 10 new job opportunities will be created. There will also be other indirect new job and entrepreneurial opportunities, such as providing only alien “rooipitjie” firewood. This has been reserved for entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged communities.”
“We do not work through personnel companies and seek our future staff ourselves. The full value of their wages must go to themselves directly, not to a middleman. We do not worry about criminal records as we believe in second chances. Our staff are trained by me and my senior staff to be responsible for a single dish, and later on, for more. If you, as many of my restaurant friends do, believe that this is a crazy idea, you will be surprised,” says Niël.
But De Vette Mossel is not a charity. “The most important thing is to deliver the best possible service to our guests. And if you cannot fit in there, you will be replaced. We create opportunities, not freebies. We expect your best, the very best and the rewards will be bountiful. Bonuses of tens of thousands of Rands, a good second-hand car as a present, flying for the first time, helicopter or boat trips are just some of the cherries of that bounty. But it must be deserved. We believe in the principle of live and let live. All staff should share in success, but also in hard times,” explains Niël.
A feeding project for the poorest of the poor, as is the case at De Vette Mossel at Groot Brak River where more than 30 poor families are supported during the festive season, will be created for communities in the immediate surroundings.
Niël says De Vette Mossel follows a strict policy of where possible only using local suppliers. For instance, only wines from the region will be on offer. “In Mossel Bay De Vette Mossel ploughs more than R3.7 million back to local suppliers annually.”
According to him De Vette Mossel @Grootbrak is arguably the “greenest” restaurant in South Africa. Only sustainable seafood is served, no Eskom power is utilised, everything is recycled, no plastic straws are offered, and limited plastic packaging used. There is almost no waste and water-usage is also limited. They plan to pursue the same principles at De Vette Mossel @Hermanus.
“We have had several discussions, including on-site meetings, with the environmental officers of the Municipality. We would like them to walk step by step with us. We are also fully committed to implementing all relevant legislation and requirements. I have been deeply involved with the environment. Ten years as environmental journalist for Die Burger and as consultant to a couple of National Ministers of Environmental Affairs have fuelled my passion for the environment. I believe we are busy destroying our world with greed, ignorance and arrogance,” says Niël.
De Vette Mossel was first established at Groot Brak River, Mossel Bay in 2004. Since then restaurants have opened at Hartbeespoort Dam, North West Province in 2012 and in Parys, Free State in 2014.
Guests pay an all-inclusive price of R295 per adult, with pensioners and children being charged less, and can eat as much as they like in the span of three hours over a nine-course rolling buffet meal. Guests are encouraged to bring their own cool boxes with drinks, ice and glasses and a corkage fee will never be charged.
“Think of it as something like a “visbraai” on the beach,” says Niël. “This is an experience in unusual and informal surroundings with traditional Cape fishing culture. The only way to really enjoy seafood is perfectly prepared and in abundance, sand under the feet, next to a bonfire, amongst friends and with a glass of good Cape wine in hand. This is what De Vette Mossel Beach Seafood Restaurant believes in.”
Niël says that foreign tourists “are sick and tired of ‘plastic’ imitations. They want the ‘real thing’. It is not so much about the food. They crave true traditional South African experiences.”