Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Swiss hospitality at its finest

One of the views from the Torre Bar in Baden
The Frau writes a lot about the wonders of Swiss hospitality in her day job. But sometimes she questions it. I mean, least night she went to the Torre Bar with two friends. The bar has beautiful views over Baden and they sat right below the castle ruin and drank glass after glass of the Spanish version of Prosecco. It was very pleasant.


Doesn’t good hospitality also include a few peanuts or olives if you are spending the equivalent of $150 on drinks? Not according to the Torre Bar. Instead, For SF 7, we received exactly one shot glass full of olives. That was it. It was astounding in its scarcity. We each had two toothpicks worth of olives and looked at each other in disbelief.

Except that it really wasn't disbelief. Because unfortunately, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened and situations like these are starting to define Swiss hospitality for The Frau. Take the Mövenpick Wine Bar in Zurich. Granted, they have a great deal on Tuesday nights with all you can drink Champagne for SF 35 and it is again, very pleasant.


Go there with your same group of three and the wine bar will serve you the million franc appetizer plate with only two breadsticks. Even though there are three of you. Again, wouldn’t a little Swiss hospitality just add an extra breadstick for goodwill?

And that’s the thing about Switzerland that confounds the Frau to this day. As so-called leaders in the hospitality industry, you think they could throw you a small bone in the shape of a few peanuts for your business. But time and time again, this seems to be asking too much. But then again, the Swiss are rich. Coincidence?

Anyone else have the answers?


Anonymous said...

There are and will always be places like that in Switzerland that see customers as "work", so they charge you for everything.
I handle it the old fashioned way: First, last and only time visit. Oh and don't forget to tell your friends about the bad service.


Dominik said...

That's Switzerland at its finest. If it doesn't bring any additional money, then don't do it.
Very sad but very true. You usually don't even get a free glass of tap water here in restaurants.

Anonymous said...

@Dominik: A glass of water is free by law. What they can charge you for is the glass itself.

Sarah said...

Sorry, I'm still stuck at the comment about all you can drink champagne for 35chf!! I know where I'm heading on my next night out.

Hattie said...

What gets me is how expensive things have gotten in Switzerland. I never expected much in the way of service there beyond ordinary courtesy,but overcharging like that would really infuriate me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chantal!

Actually I have noticed this "no-snack with drinks policy" also in many places in Germany and France or UK. This is where very Italy is different: there is no need to ask for peanuts. Italians waiters/waitresses usually bring with your wine complementary chips, breadsticks or whatever, especially for aperitivo...

This is one of the things that I have been missing the most in Switzerland: going out, have some drinks and something to eat and not spending a fortune... I will never get use to that fact that in Switzerland you have to pay 9 CH for a prosecco (that is not even good) and then extra 7 CH for a small bowl of chips...
This is why sometimes I prefer to invite people over...

Anonymous said...

Recently went to Hawaii(USA).Exactly the same: If it don't bring additional money,you don't get it".
But you could get up to 50% discount if you had a US or CDN, australian or new zeland, or UK adress on your ID card.In fact if you where from an english spoken country.

At least, in Switzerland,it's the same price for everyone, they don't disciminate you acording to your ID card ...

Anonymous said...

Have to tell that most of the middle class people (like me) don't go out beccause of the prices.

If you can afford that kind of place, even one time, you can not, you don't have to complain !!!

Anonymous said...

The way we are supposed to think about this is that in the American restaurant, maybe the giant free loaf of bread with pads of butter, the waiter filling your "bottomless" diet coke after every sip, and the portion size of which 1/2 is discarded, when he comes by after you have "paused" scarfing down to say "How are WE doing? Are WE ready for the check?" also too extreme??? Ok it's true, the Swiss olive starvation service is also pretty nuts (I wish I got some), but you can give 'em the good ol' charm offensive. A smile and a kind word goes a long way ( and sometimes might lead to another breadstick!).

More strategies to impact desired change in Switzerland please, Chantal!

Chantal said...

Agree. The American version is shocking in a completely different way. The Frau hates the American version of being rushed into paying her bill. Could we please create a happy medium?

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