Diary of MyWeku Restaurant: Crockery – To Import or To buy local
A successful caterer friend of mine based in Accra once gave me a piece of advice
Make sure you buy all your crockery from outside.
“Outside” is West African parlance for foreign. Buying foreign always makes me uncomfortable. You see, economics was one of my strong suits at school which means I have, at the very least, a basic understanding of creation of wealth through import and export. I hail from a country and continent whose fortunes have been decimated by a curious inability to export anything other than its most valuable resource – human – and raw materials to the rest of the world for a pittance. Surely knowing what I know and more importantly feeling strongly about it as I do i’d reject this advice and buy Ghana! Surely as a man thinketh in his heart….so is he?
My idealism held strong until it came to the crunch. As I began my research into basic restaurant grade crockery (Restaurant grade crockery are stronger, often chip resistant and more expensive than home use crockery) my buy Ghana zeal began to slowly ebb away. There were some interesting and fanciful “ethnic” crockery that all looked beautiful but, really what I wanted was less fancy and simply the assurance of strength (guarantee of no chipping at the edges and not easily breakable) and boringly “normal” and white. This I must admit and not to my surprise, proved elusive. I could have done what I’ve become accustomed to – Phone a million friends on the ground and hope that one or two of them knew someone who knew someone who also knew someone who knew about crockery or knew where to get some restaurant grade ones. Not this time. The thought of having to explain away what a restaurant grade crockery (or even just crockery) is was enough to put me off. A quick trawl on google spewed out the main players on the market. There are only a handful of them and since I am in London my search parameters were confined to the UK. My preferred suppliers were narrowed down to two.
I bought lunch plates, red and white wine glasses and some high balls also known as tumblers all in bulk and at what were good prices. These to my surprise, quickly filled the large boxes I had bought, which seemed like they had been especially reinforced for heavy duty shipping. At a premium cost, the owner of the shipping company came into my humble abode and with the help of his assistant managed to haul all the boxes in record time downstairs from my 2nd floor apartment.
The service to ship all the crockery to Accra was convenient. It was a door to door service which meant I did not have to contend with customs at Accra to clear my goods. Convenience I must admit does come with a hefty price tag though but, in the scheme of things the service was worthwhile. I was assured the crockery will get to Accra in 6 weeks.
This of course is the first of many, I imagine, crockery shipments to Accra.