Usually, restaurants prefer to keep their infestation problems on the down-low, but one Marin restaurant is owning its massive cockroach problem. Not just any cockroaches, but German cockroaches.
According to CBS, Mill Valley’s Cafe del Soul – which describes itself as “a natural and organic cafe” – discovered “horrible” cockroach nests in between the walls of the restaurant and a neighboring business that happened to be remodeling.
The story gets weirder. Instead of closing (yes, they’re still open during said massive infestation) or keeping the problem hush-hush, they’re acting with full disclosure. In fact, they’re almost advertising it. To make matters stranger, even though Cafe del Soul called the health department on themselves, they are still allowed to stay open; per CBS, inspectors haven’t even inspected the restaurant yet.
Here’s the note that the owners of Cafe del Soul posted online and at the store:
“To our Community,I feel I need to inform you of a situation that is out of our hands. Despite our best efforts to do and continue to do everything we can to keep our café and the surrounding areas as clean as possible, we feel we are fighting a losing battle because from what we have seen and experienced (been told by outside contractors) the building we are located in is infested with German cockroaches. We are working with outside contractors and the building owner to eradicate the problem and will continue to do so, but because of the size of the problem a simple solution is not easy to find. Thank you for your understanding and please talk to us about any questions and concerns that you have. Our hope is this information supports you in seeing what and how we do things to the best of our ability and trying to be as true and honest as we can.”
– All Staff & Supporters of Café del Soul
Again, they remain open today, according to an employee at the restaurant.
So what do you think? In this case, is the full transparency about the roach infestation a good PR move or a bad one? Restaurant manager Sandro De Oliveira acknowledges he’ll lose customers. Do you think potential customers will be dissuaded to try Cafe del Soul in the future, despite its laudable honesty and (hopefully) clean future?
And the bigger question: If the infestation is so big, why hasn’t the city shut it down yet? And why are people eating there?
And the biggest question: Is this simply the restaurant version of “The Producers”?