Mastering the German Restaurant Experience

Mastering the German Restaurant Experience



when it comes to eating out there are some similarities between the American and the German restaurant experience for example in both countries you place your order get your food and pay at the end and the similarities pretty much end there hey everyone I'm Donna and you're watching wanted adventure living abroad let's start at the very beginning with your arrival at the restaurant and go from there so in America when you walk into a restaurant you'll be greeted by one of two things either hosts ready and waiting to seat you or a sign requesting that you please wait to be seated in Germany for the most part you won't have either of those things you just go in and sit down at any table that doesn't already have a reserved sign on it sometimes the menus will already be on the table and sometimes the server will bring them to you let me take this opportunity to say something about the servers in Germany and just get that out of the way generally speaking do not expect your server to greet you with and your dear smile and definitely don't expect them to tell you their name that kind of information is far too personal but do expect them to bring you the menu take your order bring your food and then take your money at the end and all generally in a very professional way so they might not win any awards for friendliness but the servers in Germany get the job done and usually pretty well too ok so the server has brought you the menus and sometimes they'll actually ask you right away what it is you want to drink even before you've had a chance to look at the menu but if you don't know you can always just say so if you do know what you want beverage wise order it and then be prepared to order your food by the time they come back with your drinks because if you're not ready at that point it might be a while before you see your server again but really in Germany you can always flag them down – that's not considered rude or anything here another thing to note eating in Germany is not about getting in and getting out it's about enjoying the experience and enjoying your time with friends which I really like I've really grown to despise the way American restaurants rush you in feed you stuff your face and they want to push you right back out the door again it's a lot more relaxed in Germany okay so the food arrives at your table and you'd like to dig in but wait where are the forks and knives of course this varies from restaurant to restaurant and fancy restaurants are a whole other story in almost every respect but in normal restaurants often a bunch of silverware and napkins will be sitting in a mug in the middle of the table so look for them there finally time to eat now in America it's customary for the server to come back and check on you about three bites into your meal everything all right mm-hmm but in Germany that probably won't happen if something isn't all right or if you need ketchup or mustard you'll most likely have to flag down your server or someone else that works at the place or what you could do is finish your drink I have no idea how the servers in Germany do it maybe there's some sort of sensor at the bottom of the glasses or something I don't know but really they always seem to know if your drink is empty and then suddenly there they are your table it's really amazing after you finish the meal the place will be taken away but they won't be replaced by a check that can be paid whenever you are ready as in America but rather you'll be asked if you want anything else if you do then order it if not that's fine too they still won't bring your check unless you ask for it feel free to sit and chat with your friends or just fit in silence I guess whatever your preference is as long as you want there's absolutely no rush none whatsoever and it's glorious whenever you are ready to pay the server will come over and ask you to Zelman order get rent which means are you paying together or separately if separately the server will go around the table to each person using the bill to tally up what each person owes crossing off the items as they go to make sure that everyone pays so for example ah okay you had two burgers and three sodas you Oh such and such amount the service carry around with them a wallet and they give you your change back on the spot and if you'd like to leave a tip now's the time to do so servers are actually paid a wage in Germany so tipping 15 to 20 percent is not necessary but a little 5 to 10 percent tip is always appreciated and it goes like this the server will tell you how much you owe say 23 euros and then you hand them some money and announce how much you will be paying including the tip so in this case I might hand the server 30 euros and say make it 25 so then they would give me back 5 euros and keep the extra 2 euros as a tip for themselves if you don't need any change back so for example in this case you hand them 25 euros upfront you can say stems Oh which means keep the change and one more thing it's also not uncommon to share a table with other people if you show up with just one other person and the only table open is one that seats 5 they'll often see you there but then don't be surprised if halfway through your meal the server shows up with another couple and asks if you wouldn't mind sharing your table with them I've never seen anyone say no to this request the other people don't usually chat with you or anything you're just sitting at the same piece of wood together not eating together so my question for you is what are some of your restaurant pet peeves or what are some of the interesting restaurant customs that you've noticed around the world please let me know in the comments below thanks so much for watching please don't forget to subscribe and hit that like button and also be sure to follow me on Twitter and check out my Facebook page for more photos and updates until next time auf wiedersehen but do you expect them to bring you the menu take your food yeah yeah get your food garyun here's your menu I've dated your food so the servers in Germany might not any words win

35 thoughts on “Mastering the German Restaurant Experience

  1. As a waitress in America for nearly ten years, I want to clarify that most of the time American servers are not trying to rush you out. We are constantly being told guests are telling these restaurants that they want faster service, so in turn, we are told to give faster service. So we place the checks down for you so that you can put payment inside whenever YOU are ready to begin the check-out process. If you let us know in advance that you will be staying awhile, we would certainly not bring the check until told to do so. Americans want everything faster, and we are only trying to accommodate that wish. My suggestion to anyone who "hates American servers" would be to just communicate what you want to the server and I bet they will be happy to do what makes you happiest! 😁
    With that being said, thank you for your information Dana!

  2. Deine Uhren im Hintergrund sind genial, aber Bielefeld existiert nicht!
    Your Clocks in the Background are aresome, but Bielefald never exist! 😀

  3. One little secret about gastronomy. The reason servers instantly know when your drink is finished is because you make a 300% or higher profit margin on drinks than you do on food. Do the math in your head. Paying a trained, learned chef plus sous chefs if necessary, who need up to 30 minutes to prepare a meal and add that ontop of the purchase price of (hopefully good and fresh) ingredients, then look at the profit margin of a 19€ meal. In comparison, think about the 30 seconds it takes for a server to pour a coke or tap a beer and bring it to you, charging 2€-4€ for something that's less than 1€ per liter when purchased in bulk. Make sense? 😉

  4. I'm learning so much about my own country and culture from you. A native would never ever think about mentioning the little details you always seem to find. He would just not be aware at all. Keep up the good work – and btw I love your takeouts so much, could you maybe make some complete takeout clips once in a while? Also, Stephan should be seen more often. You make such a nice couple. Love it.

  5. I know a restaurant in my town, you can sit with an empty glass and nothing happens… maybe cheap glasses without sensors… 😀 And foreign people were sitting down on my table beside me, because of free space? I wouldn't like it 🙂 Never happend to me.

  6. This is the usual practice all around Europe. It's not unusual for a bussiness meeting to be held at a restaurant or to go to one instead of going out to a party. Lunch and dinner can be social activities. It's also usual to have a birthsday or graduation celebration in a restaurant, where you eat a large meal and than continue with drinks afterwards. The tipping is usually just rounding up the price, and it depends on the bill. If you are just in for a coffee, for example 2.4 euros, you don't need to tip. If your bill is more like 27 euros, you round it up to 30 (not necessary, but polite), and if your bill is something like 90 euros (large meal, more people, more orders), you should add it to a hundred. It is not an obligation, but a custom.

  7. IN the southwest US, its common for restaurants NOT to serve water unless you ask for it and then there is no charge. Why? because of drought conditions.
    You may order another beverage too…like a soft drink or a beer or wine etc.
    Other places in the US, water is served automatically to everybody!!

  8. I am German and naturally find everything normal the way its done here. But some things could be better and I do not see the logic in doing it the way they are done: omelette is labeled breakfast and you can only get it during what the restaurant fixed as breakfast time. Why not all day long like in France? Also a friend who cannot process gluten can choose from many tasty gluten-free cakes in Vienna (Austria) while in Germany he is usually left with cheese-cake (where he leaves the bottom part uneaten) or chocolates. It is easy to replace flour with almonds! (I once bought gluten-free flour in a shop and the cake tasted like sawdust. Maybe the cafes tried that and no one wanted it?) Others perhaps think we Germans have no taste buds: I recently ate cake at two cheap cafe chains and promised to myself not to go there ever again, because the cakes tasted like they had no eggs in it whatsoever but tasted like baking powder. Also my friend swears that coffee tastes much better in Austria. I dont have an opinion on that as I prefer to drink tea.

  9. In cheaper eateries in Nicaragua it's actually common for there not to be a menu as such and the server will just rattle of a half dozen items when asked…

    also Nicas do some "sss sssss" sound to get the attention of the server – it works but it seems rude even to my German mind

  10. Maybe it's because I hadn't been to Germany in a while after moving to the US, but, while I liked that fact that there was no rush to leave, I thought it was way to hard to get a hold of the wait staff for questions and the bill. At one restaurant, the server actually left, and we had to wait around for 10 minutes until she returned, since there was no one else around for us to pay the bill with. I also remembered that there are no free refills in Germany, but I had forgotten how small most of the drinks were that one pays for. I felt pretty dehydrated during the trip, since it was very warm, and I didn't want to pay for more than 2 drinks for each person each time.

  11. Tipping actually turned out to be a minor problem. In Austria and Germany rounding up worked well. In a French establishment she was firm about accepting no extra gratuity.

  12. Another major difference between German restaurants and American ones that wasn't mentioned in the video is with drinks:

    1. Water isn't free in German restaurants. If you want water, you have to order it, and pay for it.

    2. No drink comes with ice unless you expressly ask for it.

    3. There are no free refills in Germany.

  13. I don't think I would say German servers aren't "friendly." They're friendly in the same way any stranger is to any other stranger they might meet on the street. Germans don't have the concept of the "customer service smile" — you and the server are just two strangers. Germans never pretend to be your friend unless you are actually friends. That, to me, is a good thing, because you always know where you stand with a German.

  14. Those split bills are a very German thing, I have been told (by a waitress on Gran Canaria). I thought that was funny, because I always thought that we – Dutch people – had that kind of reputation. "Going Dutch", right? But in the Netherlands no one will ask for a split bill, nor would it be offered. You'll just ask for the total bill and split it yourselves, if you want to. Usually in equal shares, regardless of what everyone had.

  15. I have never ever shared a table with other people or have been seated with other people here in Germany 😀 And I have never seen a restaurant which has a mug with knives and forks, they usually come on a separate plate, maybe these mugs are a Bavarian thing (I'm living in Hesse and lived in North Rhine Westphalia before)

  16. One time during my Peace Corps service in Mali, I ordered the chicken at a restaurant in Sikasso and the man waiting on my teammates and I went outside, actually grabbed a live chicken, butchered it and cut it up in view of us, the patrons. Seeing your food live before eating it is a lot more common in a country in which 60% of people work as farmers, but it was definitely the strangest dining experience I've ever had as an American!

  17. In Australia, you don't tip. Ever. The very notion of tipping goes against the egalitarian streak in Australian culture. The waiter is not your servant. They're just another citizen doing a job and getting paid for it. Paying staff properly is the boss' job, not the customers'.

  18. My parents actually own a restaurant in Germany!
    1. Normally people don't just sit down (they do sometimes to be fair), but just stand around until a waiter comes and seats them.
    2. Our waiters and waitresses are generally very polite and will smile at you, but it probably is to get tipped more.
    3. It is normal to order when they give you your drinks, if you don't, they will probably check in with every other of their tables before they come back.
    4. Iz is no rush here in Germany, but the waiters might get impatient behind the scenes, because they might have planned to use your table for a later reservation.
    5. If you reserved a table there is normally cuttlery for the amount of people you reserved for already at the table, if not, we bring out knives and forks rolled up in a napkin.
    6. Waiters are supposed to check in from time to time but in Germany I feel like it comes off as invasive and pushy if they ask every five minutes. So they use the oppurtunity of bringing you a new drink to also ask if everything is alright.
    7. Tipping isn't necessary, but it is polite. If you look like you have the money, waiters probably expect a tip and will complain about you to co-workers if you don't. Tipping is also a convenience, if you don't want to get back annoying change or have somewhere to be and can't be bothered to wait. Generally students are not expected to tip, as they don't have that much money, too.
    8. Sharing tables is a thing. I once was at a café alone, and was asked if two old ladies could sit with me at a 4-person-table. Restaurants want to make profit, they don't want to waste three chairs just because you have no friends!

  19. I still don't understand why so many Germans feel "pressured" to get out and leave after eating in American restaurants. For one thing, it's great that you don't have to beg for the check to come. Then they tell you that they'll take your payment "whenever you're ready". Why not take it literally? It always worked great for me. After paying, I don't mind leaving. There's plenty of stuff to do. I never felt pressured, but I felt like I got great service.

  20. I love the Europen dining-out atmosphere and intent. Especially since I'm a slow eater. Food is meant to be savored along with the company. Everyone, with few exceptions, that I've ever dined out with is completely done with their food within 10 minutes of receiving it. Not only does this stress me out but I'm also thinking, "How is this good for your digsetion?" lol

  21. I live in more rural area of USA and some restaurants are seat yourself and takking about actual resturants. Like place we have Tony's it is seat yourself unless a special event is going on then they dig out wait to be seated

  22. German DVD subtitles are different from the spoken word for the following reasons:
    Scenario 1: English movie with German dub and subtitles
    The subtitles are only a translation of the English subtitles. To also transcribe them taking the German dub as a base would cost the publisher too much money. That's the simple reason.
    Scenario 2: German movie with German subtitles
    The subtitles are optimized for the hearing impaired, thus often shortening phrases to make the subtitles easier to read during the limited display time.

    I can recommend video games however – mostly adventures. In general the subtitles match the audio there.

  23. Omg!!!! Okay. I work in a restaurant in America and people are very very weird about sharing tables with other people. We had this huge talk show event held at the restaurant and sooo many people showed up and the server would go around asking people if they wanted to sit with other people or if it was okay for them to share the table with others and people were always like no I don't want to share or I'd rather just stand…it's weird here how selfish people are In that way.

  24. When you place your cutlery on the plate and cross it, it indicates to the waiter, that you are taking a little break. Side by side, about 20 nach 4 on a watch –you are finished.

  25. Dana, if you are showing cutlery in a mug on the middle of the table of a rustic inn, -please also show how neatly tables are laid in a less rustic restaurant, with paper or fabric napkins folded up nicely, and flowers on the table! ! It makes us look a little like peasants if you don't show the classier side. —Actually, I've never been to a restaurant with cutlery in a mug, and I live
    in Bavaria…! I've seen sets of cutlery rolled up in napkins and laid in a in little wicker basket on the table, but that was in a
    very simple inn in a farmer village…

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