Butler Service in South Africa

Like many fashion trends and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ lifestyles, one will always find fly-by-nights, inexperienced dreamers and chancers. More than once have they proved to be in it for the “quick buck” or just envious of those who have made a success.

Being a Butler is not easy. Training Butlers is even more difficult. If you ever think you are the perfect Butler, you need to retire with immediate affect, as nobody knows it all. If you think you know it all, retire. No matter what industry you are in, you will learn something new every single day.

Commercial Butler Service in South Africa started in the early 2000’s with the first Butler Training School in South Africa and closed short of a decade later.

What is a Butler? Except for history relating the term to a bottle bearer, the term has attracted much more than the HNW earners. Except for the traditional aspect of “slavery” the modern Butler is much more than Jeeves waiting to offer a drink with white gloves. Which brings me to this point: A tail coat, white gloves and a silver tray does not make you a Butler!

Traditional Butlers (Downton Abbey) that first originated from the UK have brought some controversy – Slavery, human trafficking, dire colonialism and the list goes on.

The days of “cheap labour” are gone. Far gone! The days of requiring a single person to walk the dogs, mow the lawn, lock the house, set the alarm, be on guard 24 hours a day, make breakfast, lunch and dinner, drive the children to school, wash & iron your R15 000 garment or Gucci suit with a R200 iron, do the shopping and entertain your friends without proper compensation are long gone. The days of paying your *Qualified Butler sub R120K per annum are gone forever.

If you can afford a R2 Mil car & R50 Mil property, surely you can look after the person taking care of you, your children, jewels and the Bentley? More than once has a bottle of wine been served that is more expensive than their 240+ hours pm of hard labour…

In the last 2 years, everyone is offering Butler Service and in some bizarre cases, 24-hour Butler Service. Yes, in South Africa! The very place extravagantly exploiting their “7 star service” blame the obvious shortfall on “But this is Africa”, “We are on Safari”…” or “We didn’t expect much in any case…”.

The majority of travelers to South Africa, have been exposed to traditional and modern Butler Service somewhere in the world. Proper Butler Service. Not a housekeeper taking ice to the room at night and doing a standard turn-down with a cheap chocolate on the pillow. These days, every hotel, resort and lodge have the most opulent interior design with the latest technology, spectacular views and linen with a 600+ thread count, however does little to fool the international travelers who have seen it all before. The only aspect that differentiates lodges, hotels and resorts from each other is the service. Service that comes from the heart. Passion for service. Not only front of house, however back of house as well. How do your staff treat each other? What do they do back of house? In most cases, it is the polar opposite of what happens in front of your guests.

Most guests come here for luxury, and that doesn’t mean luxury cars, hotels or Breitling watches. That, they have at home and can find in many places all over the world. They come here for luxury. Luxury for them is TIME. Time is LUXURY. They come here to relax, to see the big five, enjoy our mouth-watering wines and visit our incredible heritage sites.

Although there still is a demand for the traditional butler in white gloves, the majority of the international & local billionaires tend to prefer a new breed of “super-butler / household manager” who acts not only as an assistant, but a companion, lifestyle manager and concierge.

The South African Butler Academy:

What started off as a 12-day contract for a wealthy client from Holland in 2008, evolved into a global force revolutionizing the training of Butlers at the Academy in Cape Town. This has extended to on-site training at Hotels, Lodges, Resorts, famous Luxury Cruise Liners, Royal Palaces and in private homes where few training instances can compete, even after 30 years of being in business.

SABA has in excess of 600 Butlers who have undergone the exceptional 8-week international Butler training course.

Every 6 months a new “Butler School” opens somewhere in the World. Every month we receive a founder, trainer or staff member’s CV looking for “better opportunities” with us. Why? Read the very first sentence of this article…

The South African Butler Academy is world renowned for our modern approach to Butler Service in private households, resorts, lodges, exclusive yachts and passenger liners. Our training material is sourced worldwide however customized for our own unique requirements and standards. SABA standards are far above the expected international standards and expected norm.

At SABA you will undergo an eight-week intensive training program which is not only focused on skills, but also on interpersonal relationship management skills, being mindful and within the sophisticated environment of Butlers.

We do require all applicants to be aware that the SABA Butler Training program is based on both solid theoretical and practical Butler skills. At SABA, our trainers express experiential training. All previous students who attended the training program have consistently given exceptional feedback on the successful outcome in their new work environment. Above all, you will meet over 48 working Butlers in Cape Town.

*Qualified Butlers have successfully undergone our 8-10 week internationally recognised Butlers Course in Cape Town

Recent achievements:

Chosen for training on board Cunard (The world’s most famous Cruise Liner) the Queen Mary 2 & the Queen Victoria. Later in 2018 their 3rd ship, the Queen Elizabeth, will be trained by the South African Butler Academy.

The world’s most luxurious Resort, Soneva Jani & Soneva Fushi in the Maldives were also trained by The South African Butler Academy in 2017. Being fully booked with on-site training for the next 8 months, is truly an accomplishment and accolade to show that hard work and honest business ethics do pay off.

Guild Recruitment International:

Guild Recruitment International is onsite at the Butler Academy providing International household management employment for: Butlers, Chefs, Chauffeurs, Couples (couples working as a chef and nanny, or butler and au pair), Nannies, Au pairs and Domestic staff. Guild Recruitment is the International Guild for Butler memberships; the South African Butlers Guild is dedicated in promoting & protecting the interests and reputation of all members and the private service profession providing secure employment.

The South African Butler Academy understands the need for excellent service and thank you for taking the time for reading the information below. The Butler Academy offers clients the highest level of recruitment service. We ensure that every possible step is taken to promote the highest level of service.

Clients are guaranteed the surety of a confidential, professional and efficient service when seeking their ideal executive household staff member. All candidates are screened and go through intensive training in order to qualify for employment opportunities from the Guild. The criteria for employment is strict and the training which we provide is an extensive 8-week Butler course. Please note, that should the candidate not present our certificate to you, we strongly recommend to re-consider this integral placement choice.

Guild Recruitment International will be pleased to assist employers with their recruitment requirements. GR is the only registered Placement Agency in Africa to work with SABA and have a sold mandate over their qualified candidates for their own clients. They assist in the placement of qualified SABA Butlers / Household managers and Estate Managers. They place full-time, part time, and seasonal contract positions around the World for HHNWC, Celebrities, Cruise Liners, Royal Palaces, Private Yachts and Households.

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