A group of 24 friends got together to test out Bijou Belle's first ever brunch event on January 29th. We paid $40 each for this mobile dining experience and filled up the entire bus in days. We were promised bottomless mimosas and a menu of jerk salmon salad, shrimp and grits, bacon and sausage quiche and grits. Looks and sounds yummy, right? Should be a fun and different experience, right?
What happened was a COMPLETE DISASTER AND FAILURE.
We board the bus at NYLO Southside and are offered mimosas. I believe that what we were served was a combination of juice, seltzer water and maybe a dab of champagne. We even asked if there was champagne in it. We take off through downtown and are served our first course, a yogurt and fruit parfait.
We park across the street from Klyde Warren Park and are then advised that they have run out of champagne. So think about the time that it would take one to drive from South Lamar Street to Klyde Warren. (Google Maps says 10 minutes.) We are less than 30 minutes into a 2 hour experience and you've already run out of drinks. We were told not to worry, as the staff would get more.
We remain parked at Klyde Warren while we are served our next course. The portion sizes served by "Chef" Salena, the caterer for the day and owner of Ooo Wee Sweets and Touch of Soul Catering and Events, were equivalent to that which you would feed a toddler. We were boggled and asked our server where the rest of the food was. I mean, these portions were TINY. Our waiter commented that he thought we were made aware that we would be getting sample portions. I can assure you that we were not, as we all arrived with full appetites. We paid $40 each and probably received less than $5 worth of hors d'oeuvres.
After eating our toddler meals, the bus pulls into the parking lot at Walmart on Central Expressway and Hall. A Bijou Belle staffer gets off the bus, heads into Walmart and buys 2 bottles of sparkling wine...FOR 24 PEOPLE. We get served a sprinkle of champagne before the bus starts rolling again and we are taken for a ride, in the figurative and literal sense, around White Rock Lake. We are hungry and thirsty. And not happy.
The bus takes us back to NYLO and we exit stage left and many of us walk across the street to Cedars Social to eat and drink. At this time I am informed by my partner-in-brunch crimes and blog co-owner, Toni Nic, that Chef Salena's friend/family member that accompanied her on the bus, but remained in the kitchen area, was spotted enjoying a large portion of the jerk "salmon"...THAT WE PAID FOR. Salmon is in quotations because I'm pretty sure that we were served canned tuna. Apparently, Toni watched Salena's friend/family member pile it high on a full slice of bread, not a toast point, and satiated her appetite, while the people that paid for this dining experience went hungry.
After collectively agreeing to take a moment to calm down before scathing Bijou Belle and Chef Salena on social media, our group organizer reaches out to Bijou Belle and the owner offers a second brunch bus experience, on the house, to make up for this exceptionally poor experience.
Our group agrees upon April 30th as our new date. As of Friday, April 28th, Bijou Belle's owner has cancelled and informed us that his chef is unavailable until September. We were also informed that we cannot use our own chef to rebook another date. Not only does their marketing staffer claim to not remember rebooking our date, she also says that she will offer half off on a future ride to those of us that have extensive social media influence and reach. As if that matters when you delivered a service and product that was shoddy to begin with. Influencer money is just as green as the next man's/woman's. We gave your company a chance to make this right and you failed at that too. Why would I give you more money?
Bijou Belle has since deleted their review section on Facebook, after three members in our parties shared our 1-star experiences. Oh, Bijou-Belle. You can delete your review section but you can't delete public posts. Funny how your marketing staffer was so concerned with our social media influence and reach but you deleted your review section after only 3 of the 24 people that you owe refunds to shared our poor experience. Not to worry, as Brunchlust will allow people to read about your scam of a business and your less than stellar business practices.
GREAT CONCEPT. POOR EXECUTION. I WILL NEVER USE BIJOU BELLE OR CHEF SALENA'S SERVICE NOR DO I RECOMMEND THEM. HIGHLY UNPROFESSIONAL AND A DOWNRIGHT SCAM.
Brunchlust Rating: F. In fact, make that an F-. I know there is no such thing but yes, F-. Total fail. Complete disaster. Steer clear. DO NOT WANT. I am not linking anyone to their website or providing any additional information about this scam.