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Would not recommend Weihenstephaner Berlin

We just arrived in Berlin and we’re looking forward to eating at Weihenstephaner after reading the review in the guidebook. After waiting 45 minutes and being consistently ignored by our waitress we got up and left.

We arrived and waited at the host stand for a few minutes, not sure if we could just sit down or needed to be seated. I went inside and the man said we could just sit down. When we sat we spent then next 20 minutes trying to get our waitress’ ( any waitress really) attention. It was a surreal experience of trying to make eye contact, waiving, speaking broken German for our waitress to literally ignore us and look the other way, even when she was serving ppl sitting right next to us!

We ended up just leaving when we asked another waitress if we could order and she said “wait for your waitress.”

It reminded me of some experiences I have had in the American south. So as a black person, it felt to me that there was a racial element to our treatment.

Not sure if anyone else has had better experiences but it really soured our first day in Berlin.

Posted by
159 posts

I just read their reviews on google, seems a lot of people have had similar service issues. Don’t let one bad experience sour the whole trip.

Posted by
18918 posts

I don't blame you for being disappointed and angry at such non-service. I wonder, though, whether restaurants in Europe are having the same staffing issues affecting those here at home. (Maybe they aren't, because they don't operate on the hire-them-for-$3/hour-and-let-them-try-to-survive-on-tips model.)

Posted by
25778 posts

I don't know if that is the case in Berlin, the short staffing, but it certainly is in the UK news for here.

Posted by
639 posts

I'm really sorry that happened. Hope the rest of your trip is great.

Posted by
149 posts

What a horrible experience. Many want not to believe that racism happened, but wishing doesn't make it so. I hope that you were able to move on to better experiences.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks Lindy. Yes it was a very disturbing situation. Luckily the rest of our time here has been great! Incredible hospitality everywhere else.

Posted by
945 posts

I am sorry you had such an experience. I wish I could tell you that it's totally impossible that there was a racial element - I can't (though it's impossible for me to judge the situation at a distance). Aside from that worst possibility, there are also simply unfriendly waitresses and grumpy staff and bad service. Whichever it may have been, I do hope that it will remain the exception on your trip and not the norm.

Not meaning to excuse plain bad service or, worse, downright racism, there is also the cultural difference of what to expect from waitresses. I saw ads from the Weihenstephaner advertising with the word "entschleunigt". This basically invites the customers to "take time to slow down". Since waiters in Germany don't depend on speedy turnover for tips, instant service is not their main goal, and that in itself is not considered bad service. Customers do come with the expectation that they can sit and stay for a nice evening, and they don't want to feel like they are being rushed through their meals. It would be considered extremely rude for instance to put the check on the table before people have asked for it, or before they have even finished their meals, as I have had it happen many times in America.

Having said that, a 45 minute wait for a waitress to even show up and at least ask what you wish to drink is certainly too long.

Posted by
12360 posts

Waiting to be served can be a tedious experience. I've gotten up and left too when the wait was more than half an hour and I've also stayed too just to see how long it would take. In Munich and in Berlin I've seen Americans already sitting at a table, obviously not knowing German, ask the waitress who was just about to wait on them, "English, English?" Upon hearing this, the waitress just ignored them, walked away without saying anything.

In the area of Bahnhof Zoo/Berlin (this was in 1995) , I just happened to be passing by a customer already seated in the large outside area, a guy pretty exasperated at not being served. Obviously, he and his party had been sitting and waiting for service. This guy gets up when he sees a waiter serving another table and barks this question at him, "Wird draußen bedient?"

The waiter caught off guard tried to excuse himself. I thought ...that's how you say it when encountering that sort of service.

I am not familiar with Weihenstephaner in Berlin. If an establishment is not a white table cloth place, I just look for a table large enough where empty seats are available, even if partially occupied, and ask , if they are taken. (Ist der Platz/sind die Plätze noch frei?) and then sit down.

I do that in Germany and Austria, and I've had that done to me too, ie, table sharing, regardless if I liked it or not at the moment.

If the place is a white table cloth establishment, then it's another story, I wait for the hostess or some member of the staff.

Posted by
945 posts

I just look for a table large enough where empty seats are available,
even if partially occupied, and ask , if they are taken. (Ist der
Platz/sind die Plätze noch frei?) and then sit down.

Table sharing used to be quite accepted in German restaurants, but unless we are talking about a beer tent kind of place, people will certainly look at you strangely nowadays (and we are not talking about "since Covid"). I'll say quite frankly that table sharing is a thing of the past. You simply don't do it any more.

If the place is a white table cloth establishment, then it's another
story, I wait for the hostess or some member of the staff.

During Covid or in restaurants that require a reservation that may be the proper thing to do. Anywhere else, it is really not necessary. You can just pick a table and sit down, no matter if white table cloth or not.