Business and Restaurants
Businesses and shops can't be open as long as they please. There are strict regulations set up on the hours they can be opened. If you are looking to be the earlybird to get there before everyone else does, You will only find the local bakeries open. Most shops do not open until 9 or 10am. All businesses are also required to close for an hour or two during lunch in order for families to go home and have lunch with one another. They reopen at about 1 or 2 and remain open until about 6. Restaurants and different eating establishments are allowed to be open for a longer time. And, pubs and disco's usually close at 3am. There are even places where when some bars close others reopen, YES AT 3am. Saturdays are usually half days, kind of like those shop hours you may find in America on a Sunday. Sundays in Germany is where almost nothing is open.
At a Restaurant
If you are offended by sitting with others that you may not know while dining out than eating out in Germany may not be the way to go. Sharing tables with others is most common while in Germany ( and most places in the EU ). The lack of space makes it acceptable to eat with complete strangers. Although don't expect them to start up a conversation with you. It is not as if you would invite someone to sit down and start up a conversation introducing one another. It's typical just to ask if you can sit there, and then when their food arrives to say "Guten Appitite" and that is all.
A few more observations are below:.
- Outdoor eating in Germany is very popular, and it's not unusual or unacceptable to find someone's dog that they've brought along, lying underneath their table.
- German waiters and waitresses aren't bothered with everyone at the table to have separate checks. It's common practice (when out with friends) to pay for yourself.
- It's rare to get a check at a German Restaurant. Instead, after they have taken your plate, the waiter or waitress will ask you what you ate, and then you pay right there. They carry a money pouch with them to accept your money and to make change.
- Tips are already included with the price of food in Germany. Although it's customary to round up to the nearest Euro when you pay your bill.