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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dining Differences between The USA and Germany

Dining out?  Here are some important differences between restaurant dining in Germany and restaurant dining in The United States.

In America, water is free and is refilled often.
(usually filtered tap water)
In Germany, water is not free and is refilled upon request only.
(usually sparkling mineral water)

In America, the food is expensive but many drinks are cheap.
(free water, free refills on most beverages)
In Germany, the food is cheap but many drinks are expensive.
(water, juice, coffee are not complimentary and do not come with free refills)

In America, your server will stop by often to check on you.
(to ensure that you are having an enjoyable experience)
In Germany, your server will not interrupt you unless you flag them.
(to ensure that you are having an enjoyable experience)

In America, it does not matter where you place your fork and knife while eating.
(your server will ask you if you are finished)
In Germany, positioning you fork and knife on the plate at 5 o'clock means you are finished.
(your sever will uses this as a signal to remove your plate without asking)

In America, the fork is held in the right hand and the knife is held/used when needed.
(Americans find this efficient)
In Germany, the fork is held in the left hand, the knife in the right and both are held continuously.
(Germans find this efficient) 

In America, you are politely encouraged to leave after your meal is completely finished.
(your bill will be placed on the table, the server will ask if you need anything else)
In Germany, it is expected that you will stay for a while.
(you will not be given a bill unless you request it, and even then it might take a while)

In America, your server will politely thank you for your business.
(to appreciate their customers)
In Germany, the owner, manager or server might offer a free round of schnapps after desert.
(to appreciate their customers)

In America, it is customary to give tips of 15% and higher depending on the quality of the service.
(usually an estimate of 15% and then rounded up to the nearest dollar)
In Germany, it is customary to round up the entire cost of the mean to an amount you feel comfortable with.
(tips are appreciated, but anything over 10% is perceived as being a bit outlandish / also, the servers are much better compensated by the restaurant)

An important side note:
Not all establishments in Germany have public washrooms.  If an establishment has a bathroom, it is usually for in house guests only.  If the bathroom has an attendant (which is often the case) you are expected to pay a small fee for it's use.  In return, the bathrooms are exceptionally clean compared to bathrooms in The USA  (always keep some spare change in your pocket in case of emergency)

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