34 South - Our Ethos

Posted on Sun June 26, 2022 in About 34 South.

Our distinctive spirit explained and explored for our team

Why do doctors pledge themselves to the Hippocratic Oath? Because the Hippocratic Oath is the foundation of the doctor's value system - and, by understanding their value system, they understand their profession. It's the same in business: every business needs a clear understanding of its values so that its staff can approach their mission with confidence. Together, this understanding, these values and this mission form the company's Ethos.

Ethos? You gotta be joking - who uses words like 'Ethos?’

Well, we do - because ethos means 'the distinctive spirit of a people' - and we're a team of People people.

We like people - Staff People, Supplier People, Guest People, and all the other people we meet along the way. And you like people, too. You wouldn't have wanted to become a part of our team if you didn't.

Our ethos (OK, our distinctive spirit) comes from:

  • The 34 South People –that would be us: The Team;
  • Our Guests and Customers – the guys who pay us;
  • Our Suppliers – the guys we pay;
  • Style – what we look like: the feeling you get when you come into 34 South;
  • Food – the best ingredients, freshly prepared;
  • Culture – the way we work (we work as a team and we work hard);

These are the pillars of our Ethos - as a member of our team, you're committed to them.

34 South – My eyes! My eyes! They glaze over…

Our aim is to provide our guests and customers with top-quality products (food, wine, and gifts) and first-rate service. By achieving this aim, we are recognised as a ‘leading and preferred business’ (which means that our customers choose 34 South before they choose any other restaurant, deli or gift shop - and that our competitors must follow our lead if they want to keep up with us).

Oh yes, and another thing: we're in the entertainment business. We want our guests and customers to have fun. And we want you to have fun. It's what we do and it's why we do what we do.

So: let's have a look at each of the pillars of our Ethos (and that's the last time we'll use the word “ethos” – it serves its purpose but it's really, really hard to pronounce).

The 34 South People 

At 34 South we live by the laws of “substantive fairness” - which means that rules and regulations are applied fairly and equally. And here's the thing: 34 South is an African company and the concept of substantive fairness stems from the traditional concept of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is about being human – which means caring about other people as much as we care about ourselves (in other words: we're prepared to go out of our way for one another – no matter whether the other person we go out of our way for is a guest or a member of our team).

Oh ja, and never forget this: the rules of substantive fairness – Ubuntu – also apply to the way we communicate with one another: at 34 South we talk politely to each other, we respect one another, and we accept our cultural differences.

We work hard to create a happy working environment, one that makes working here stimulating and enjoyable - and we expect you to work hard at making life pleasant, too. (Don't worry, though, because you won't need any special skills for this - just be ready with a quick smile and be considerate of your team-mates and you’ll be OK.)

Also, you'll be expected to do like we all do at 34 South – to strive to be better. Better at everything. Better in the evening than you were in the morning.

Like the rest of us, you'll be working constantly to improve yourself, and like the rest of us (and this is really, really important), you'll contribute to our success as a team and you'll recognise and acknowledge contributions made by others.

Our Guests and Customers

OK, listen up: your job is to create long-term relationships with your guests and customers. They have to enjoy themselves. Doesn't matter if they only visit us once or if they come here ten times a day – if they enjoy themselves they'll always feel good when they think of us.

You are expected to work hard and ensure that everyone has happy memories of 34 South. That way, even if we never actually see any particular guest or customer again, the relationship is preserved in his or her memory – forever.

Look at it this way. All you need to do is concentrate on making the person in front of you happy – even if he or she wants to sit for hours when there's an enormous queue of people waiting to get in the door. Happy guests and customers will tell their friends about 34 South – that's what's called 'word- of-mouth advertising' and it’s the simple secret behind every successful business. And remember, by making 34 South successful you’ll benefit everyone – yourself, me, our customers, and our suppliers.

But if anything does go wrong remember this: if anyone is unhappy about anything and wants their money back – we give it to them. No argument.

Our Suppliers 

We believe in co-operating with our suppliers because we rely on their support as much as they rely on ours (imagine saying this to a guest: “sorry-for-yoooouu – you can order anything you want but I can't actually bring it to you because we were rude to the guys who sell us the raw ingredients and now we can't cook your food because none of our suppliers will supply us with supplies anymore.”) Suppliers are like customers: if we didn't have them, we wouldn't be able to work, we'd have to close down and then we'd all lose our jobs.

We're dedicated to giving our guests and customers more than what they want (in business-speak, that's called “exceeding the customers' expectations” – but let's keep it clean and jargon-free, shall we?).


We're honest, generous and sometimes flamboyant and we recognise that presentation is the key to looking good. We are never limited by traditional approaches and solutions because ours is more than just a food venue, because we're entertainers, and because every visit to 34 South must end with happy memories.

Our approach to food is simple: we use the best ingredients (no compromise, because great dishes begin with great ingredients), and we make sure that everything we serve is freshly prepared – because that's what our guests deserve. And what they expect from us.


If the menu says fresh fish then freshly frozen is not acceptable! Fresh garlic or fresh lemons means fresh – not preserved! Butter croissants cannot have cheaper alternatives! It is this unwavering belief that ensures success.

And here's another thing: We NEVER run out of stock. Never... Which is why we always make 110% sure that everything – food, drinks, general stock is 110% available. Even if it means standing on our heads and sobbing like babies.


Our culture is simple: it's the way we work - we work as a team and we work hard.