South African pizza store turns govt. error into front page news

Feb. 19, 2002

A clever Cape Town pizza delivery service got an enviable mention from South Africa's finance minister, Trevor Manuel, during a budget speech delivered to the country's top officials on Feb. 18.

As he had done in the past, Manuel ran his "Tips for Trevor" project, in which South Africans are invited to phone in suggestions for the country's budget.

Two weeks ago, one of Manuel's officials mistakenly gave a phone number for the ministry that actually was the number for Butler's Pizza in Cape Town.

Butler's phones started ringing, but the people on the other end of the line didn't want to order pizza.

Seizing the moment, Butler's turned the situation into a business opportunity by proposing the company's staff be allowed to have a photograph taken with Manuel as compensation. According to a report on, the pizza staff also "generously donated 60 pizzas to an exhausted and hungry Treasury team," Manuel said. "We thank them and apologize for the mix-up." The photo made the front page of a Cape Town newspaper on Tuesday.

In his speech, Manuel also thanked the many other South Africans who wrote, faxed and e-mailed their tips, adding, "I am sorry that some ideas -- such as the abolition of personal income taxes -- could not be accommodated."

Topics: Independent Operation

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