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Archive for August, 2012

Tipping & Paying the Bill

If you have read through part 1 of this article – Do’s and Don’ts in German Restaurants and Cafés – you will already know what to expect when you go out for a meal in Germany.  But what happens when it’s time to settle the bill?

Ordering

First of all, it is not typical to pay at the counter as you order, as you would in most cafés Down Under.  In Germany, you usually order at the table, enjoy your meal/drinks and then call the waiter/waitress to your table to pay (“Die Rechnung bitte” – “the bill please”). While credit cards are accepted in the majority of restaurants, it is much more common to pay with cash, so come prepared with your spending money.

Tipping

GST is already included in the menu price in restaurants, bars, and cafés all over Germany. Still, it is typical to round up the bill and you would therefore only pay the exact original amount if you were unhappy with the service.  A rule of thumb is to add 5-10% as a tip, generally ending with a full Euro amount.  For example, if the waiter/waitress says “15.60”, you would hand him/her a €20 note and say “Siebzehn bitte” (“17 please”). S/he will then give you €3 in change.

Splitting the Bill

As we usually go out for some meals with our Sidetracks group, you might wonder if we can split the bill.  This is actually quite common.  Simply tell the waiter/waitress when paying what you are paying for and s/he will readily add up your amounts and present you with a personal total, which you should then round up, as explained above.  Unless eating alone, the waiter/waitress is likely to come up at the end of the meal and ask “Zusammen?” (“All together?”).

As always, your Sidetracks tour guide will help you out with any uncertainties that crop up at the time, leaving you free to enjoy your European culinary adventures.

“Guten Appetit” and “Prost” from the Sidetracks Team!

 

Author: Barbara Panettieri

Sources:

http://www.germanfoods.org/consumer/facts/eatinghabits.cfm

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187275-s606/Germany:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

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Do’s and Don’ts in German Restaurants and Cafés

One of the many pleasures while travelling is that you get to delve into a different culinary world.  No doubt you’ll want to try the various regional specialties, so we make sure you get plenty of opportunities to sample different foods on a Sidetracks Tour.  In the article below we have listed some differences to be aware of when it comes to food services etiquette between Down Under and Germany, so that you can just relax and enjoy the great German food.

On Arrival

Unless it is a fancy restaurant, you don’t usually have to wait to be seated once you arrive: just walk right in and pick the table of your choice. At bars, in cafés and in informal crowded restaurants, it’s also perfectly OK to sit down next to strangers, as long as you get an affirmative response to the question “Ist hier noch frei?” – “Is this seat vacant?”.  It’s also a great way to meet the locals! Many smaller restaurants, however, will have a table reserved for regular customers, such as those from a particular company or society.  These tables will usually be labelled with a sign stating “Stammtisch”.  Don’t sit at these tables without checking with a waiter/waitress first.

Bread and Water

Unlike Down Under, it’s not customary to serve or receive water upon arrival in any restaurant or café in Germany, so you won’t find jugs of water or a water fountain to help yourself to.  Instead, you’ll need to order and pay for water and are likely to be asked whether you would prefer sparkling or still mineral water (“mit oder ohne Kohlensäure”) when doing so.  Although it’s very uncommon to request tap water (“Leitungswasser”) as a drink, requesting a glass of tap water to be served with your coffee is becoming a more commonly accepted practice these days.  Also, if there is a basket of bread and/or pretzels (“Brezeln”) on the table, don’t be surprised if you are charged for what you eat.

Ordering

When you are ready to order, close the menu or put it face down on the table, and if still no one comes to take your orders, just catch the eye of the waiter/waitress and say “Bestellen bitte!” in a friendly tone.

Toasting

When eating or drinking together, people ususally say “Guten Appetit” before they start and you might come across people saying “Prost!” (“Cheers!”) or “Zum Wohl!” (“To your health!”) before they briefly clink glasses.  When you join in a toast with others, it’s polite to look the person you are clinking glasses with in the eye.

To Finish

As in Australia and New Zealand, if you cross your knife and fork on your plate, it means you are just pausing in your meal.  If you lay your knife and fork side by side, however, it means you are finished and the waiter/waitress may come and take your plate away.

Your Sidetracks tour guide is also never far away and is happy to help with any advice or translations that are needed.  So you can just relax and enjoy your culinary experiences in the heart of Europe.

And don’t forget to check out part 2 – Tipping & Paying the Bill.

“Guten Appetit” and “Prost” from the Sidetracks Team!

 

 

Author: Barbara Panettieri

Sources:

http://www.germanfoods.org/consumer/facts/eatinghabits.cfm

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187275-s606/Germany:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

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