Quality Control for Cuba’s Private Cafes

Warhol P.

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Jan 22 — It’s amazing to witness how every day in Havana, more and more private cafes are opening up.

On one neighborhood street alone, I saw three and four of these – one next to the other, and usually offering all the same things (coffee, pastries, pizzas, sandwiches, soft drinks) and all at the same prices.

This made me wonder: Who monitors the quality of these foods?

This question concernss me because I usually eat at various establishments that sell in national currency, and although these are foods that have nothing to do with state-run businesses, their quality is frequently unsuitable for human consumption.

There have been times when I’ve spent good money but ended up feeling cheated. On several occasions I bought cream-filled pastries to go, but when I got home to eat them I discovered that the filling was bad.

The same applies to pizzas, which despite being expensive are unacceptable due to poor preparation. What’s worse is that this isn’t something that occurs sporadically. Unfortunately for the consumer, this is a situation that’s both disagreeable and becoming more common.

How can this problem be solved? Who’s responsible for detecting these offenses and curbing them?

It seems to me that there’s lots of talk about this but nothing’s done about it. Everyone is aware of the situation, but — like everything on the island — things go at a snail’s pace, though the problems are many and varied.

This problem is nothing more than one more on the list.

One has to keep in mind that only a minority of Cubans can buy pastries in hard currency CUCs, sold at the chain of “Sylvains” shops, though those delicacies do in fact maintain the required quality.


2 thoughts on “Quality Control for Cuba’s Private Cafes

  • So, Cuba welcomes the supreme efficiency that only a market-based economy has to offer.

  • A solution could be to let consumers rate each place after purchase and make business show publicly their consumer rating. Then everyone will try to work to get the best rating because it will mean better income for their business.

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