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-   -   Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food? (https://www.englishforum.ch/complaints-corner/110991-normal-swiss-restaurants-charge-too-much-poor-quality-food.html)

Mac the Knife 08.04.2011 10:42

Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
The other day I went out for lunch with my Swiss colleagues from the office.

We went to a nice restaurant in the center of Zug, on stepping in side, the owners had clearly invested in the interior décor and it certainly looked the part. On seeing the menu, there was a plate of spaghetti with a mushroom cream sauce that looked appealing as a main course, at 20 CHF. Myself and two female colleagues ordered the dish and they even added on salads as starters, I opted just to wait for the main course.

My colleagues starters came and went. With the arrival of the main course I was looking forward to my meal, when the largest plate I have ever seen came out of kitchen in the hands of the waitress, I would liken it to the shape of a flying saucer.

As it hovered towards our table and landed in front of me, I was rather shocked to see that the center of the dish was rather smaller than the circumference of the dish, I looked over to the two female colleagues who had also just seen their dishes land and they were looking at the dish as though aliens had literally landed in front of them.

Being new, in the company and in the country I just started to proceed eating and wondering, where I could get a sandwich on the way home, )the meal was over after 6 twirled forks) when all my Swiss colleagues started to point out the meager portion all 3 of us had received, the Swiss females seemed willing to accept this, but I heartened by the mini revolution on our table, stood up and went over to the waiters and asked to see the manager.

On pointing out to the manager that the portion I had been served was on the slight side, he responded to me that it was funny that I should complain as normally people complained that the portions were too big. But on this occasion he was willing to offer the dish for half price at 10 CHF.

In the recent months, I have found other restaurants, masquerading as serving Indian cuisine, been to Sushi establishments where you need to put down a mortgage before consuming, due to cost. All the expensive dishes and frankly average food leaves me wondering, if all restaurants in Switzerland, get away with charging way too much for poor quality food?

Nil 08.04.2011 10:52

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Most of the expats here are getting very very good at cooking! I didn't cook in the previous country I was but since here, I became very good at it! :D

PaddyG 08.04.2011 10:53

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
As in most cases, it depends. I have been to fairly reasonable restaurants with excellent food and generous portions, on the other hand I have also been ripped of with barely edible crap and paid through the nose for it, mainly in ski resorts, funnily enough.

Upthehatters2008 08.04.2011 10:54

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
It seems your rant is about price, not quality ?

You seemed to have had good service. A nice restaurant and an understanding reactive manager dealing with your complaint.

What exactly is the problem?

Guest 08.04.2011 10:54

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mac the Knife (Post 1162700)
All the expensive dishes and frankly average food leaves me wondering, if all restaurants in Switzerland, get away with charging way too much for poor quality food?

I'm not going to say yes or no at this juncture.

You need to come at it from a different angle - think of 20chf as the cover charge per person: included in this is some bread and a small portion of mediocre pasta in so-so sauce.

Spend 10chf more, however, or perhaps 15chf, and you'll get a decent meal in terms of quality and usually quantity. Try not to think in terms of the total cost, just the incremental benefit, cos you're gonna have to pay that 20chf regardless.


And whatever you do, do not "convert and compare" to UK prices - it was bad enough to do this at 2.4 to the pound, never mind the current 1.5 :msnsad:
One needs to maintain a local benchmark, be that the price of a pint, pay for an hour's work, or something else that will let you easily compare costs here with your earnings here.

If you compare CH prices solely with non-CH prices, you'll never buy anything :p

olygirl 08.04.2011 10:55

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
1. High prices? It's Zug
2. He offered you some compensation which I find fair.
3. The rent for some of these places (especially in Zug) is tremendous.
4. Was the quality poor or just the portion small?
5. And again, it's Zug.

Peg A 08.04.2011 10:55

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mac the Knife (Post 1162700)
The other day I went out for lunch with my Swiss colleagues from the office.

We went to a nice restaurant in the center of Zug, on stepping in side, the owners had clearly invested in the interior décor and it certainly looked the part. On seeing the menu, there was a plate of spaghetti with a mushroom cream sauce that looked appealing as a main course, at 20 CHF. Myself and two female colleagues ordered the dish and they even added on salads as starters, I opted just to wait for the main course.

My colleagues starters came and went. With the arrival of the main course I was looking forward to my meal, when the largest plate I have ever seen came out of kitchen in the hands of the waitress, I would liken it to the shape of a flying saucer.

As it hovered towards our table and landed in front of me, I was rather shocked to see that the center of the dish was rather smaller than the circumference of the dish, I looked over to the two female colleagues who had also just seen their dishes land and they were looking at the dish as though aliens had literally landed in front of them.

Being new, in the company and in the country I just started to proceed eating and wondering, where I could get a sandwich on the way home, )the meal was over after 6 twirled forks) when all my Swiss colleagues started to point out the meager portion all 3 of us had received, the Swiss females seemed willing to accept this, but I heartened by the mini revolution on our table, stood up and went over to the waiters and asked to see the manager.

On pointing out to the manager that the portion I had been served was on the slight side, he responded to me that it was funny that I should complain as normally people complained that the portions were too big. But on this occasion he was willing to offer the dish for half price at 10 CHF.

In the recent months, I have found other restaurants, masquerading as serving Indian cuisine, been to Sushi establishments where you need to put down a mortgage before consuming, due to cost. All the expensive dishes and frankly average food leaves me wondering, if all restaurants in Switzerland, get away with charging way too much for poor quality food?

While you keep saying "poor quality" your complaint surely sounds a lot more like "poor quantity"... quantity and quality are not the same.

YES, it is quite normal here to be given a portion closer to what a nutritionist / dietitian would describe as proper portion size.

YES it is also quite normal here to pay more than we may have paid elsewhere for a similar (but less hearty) dish as the staff at restaurants here are actually paid something close to a living wage rather than having to work two jobs in order to make ends meet.

Tom1234 08.04.2011 11:17

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Peg A (Post 1162724)

YES, it is quite normal here to be given a portion closer to what a nutritionist / dietitian would describe as proper portion size.

The problem is not knowing how big the portion size is in the first place.

What may be fine for someone who is basically sedentary is pretty useless for someone who has been carrying a 20Kg rucksack up mountains all day and a teacup saucer of food doesn't really do the trick.

Next time I really need a meal, I'm asking for exact dimensions of menu items.

Suisse2008 08.04.2011 11:18

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mac the Knife (Post 1162700)
In the recent months, I have found other restaurants, masquerading as serving Indian cuisine, been to Sushi establishments where you need to put down a mortgage before consuming, due to cost. All the expensive dishes and frankly average food leaves me wondering, if all restaurants in Switzerland, get away with charging way too much for poor quality food?

Before you make any judgments about quality vs. value-for-money (not sure which one is more important for you), you should try a wider variety of places (and not just in Zug). Of course, if I were to eat lunch daily in Covent Garden in London, I think I might come to the same conclusions as you did. If you try places further away from the centre perhaps in an auberge/inn, you will have a nice meal at a moderate price.

As for ethnic food, as is normal in many parts of the world, the quality varies depending on if there is an ethnic community in the area and often it is hit-or-miss due to modifications to appease local tastes. Normally one has to research to find a good quality ethnic restaurant.

amogles 08.04.2011 11:19

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 1162757)
The problem is not knowing how big the portion size is in the first place.

What may be fine for someone who is basically sedentary is pretty useless for someone who has been carrying a 20Kg rucksack up mountains all day and a teacup saucer of food doesn't really do the trick.

Next time I really need a meal, I'm asking for exact dimensions of menu items.

especially in the smaller family-run places I have often seen the chef come out of the kitchen to offer second helpings of the vegetables etc (for free). But you probably won't get this if you order the 20CHF dish without the salad.

Mac the Knife 08.04.2011 11:19

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Peg A (Post 1162724)
While you keep saying "poor quality" your complaint surely sounds a lot more like "poor quantity"... quantity and quality are not the same.

YES, it is quite normal here to be given a portion closer to what a nutritionist / dietitian would describe as proper portion size.

YES it is also quite normal here to pay more than we may have paid elsewhere for a similar (but less hearty) dish as the staff at restaurants here are actually paid something close to a living wage rather than having to work two jobs in order to make ends meet.

I would definitely link quality and quantity together. If they had brought me a huge portion and it was terrible quality, I would also have raised the issue and certainly not eaten the dish. I had not entered a fine dining establishment either, where it is clear from the outset that portions are smaller.

Perhaps I got lost in a ramble in my original post, all I was trying to say is that it feels as though you have to look a bit further in CH to find a good place to eat and when you do need to be prepared to pay, especially if you wish to stray away from a local menu.

I lived in Beglium, before moving here and that was a country that cared about all aspects of a meal. In all other aspect I would say CH definitely has the edge on BE, but perhaps in the area of food, I learnt higher standards in Belgium.

08.04.2011 11:31

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
I ate once at an Italian restaurant in Murten. At the door was a board saying "Lasagne all day" - the portion was adequate but the lasagne was awful. I sent it back and ordered a Pizza. I don't know what they did to the Pizza, it smelt a bit funny and I was ill all night.

http://yellow.local.ch/en/d/Murten/3...a&where=Murten

These days I rarely eat at restaurants in Switzerland. I am really fed up with paying high prices for rubbish, and I can cook rubbish myself! I only eat at places friends have recommended.

08.04.2011 11:34

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mac the Knife (Post 1162700)
The other day I went out for lunch with my Swiss colleagues from the office.

We went to a nice restaurant in the center of Zug, on stepping in side, the owners had clearly invested in the interior décor and it certainly looked the part. On seeing the menu, there was a plate of spaghetti with a mushroom cream sauce that looked appealing as a main course, at 20 CHF. Myself and two female colleagues ordered the dish and they even added on salads as starters, I opted just to wait for the main course.

My colleagues starters came and went. With the arrival of the main course I was looking forward to my meal, when the largest plate I have ever seen came out of kitchen in the hands of the waitress, I would liken it to the shape of a flying saucer.

As it hovered towards our table and landed in front of me, I was rather shocked to see that the center of the dish was rather smaller than the circumference of the dish, I looked over to the two female colleagues who had also just seen their dishes land and they were looking at the dish as though aliens had literally landed in front of them.

Being new, in the company and in the country I just started to proceed eating and wondering, where I could get a sandwich on the way home, )the meal was over after 6 twirled forks) when all my Swiss colleagues started to point out the meager portion all 3 of us had received, the Swiss females seemed willing to accept this, but I heartened by the mini revolution on our table, stood up and went over to the waiters and asked to see the manager.

On pointing out to the manager that the portion I had been served was on the slight side, he responded to me that it was funny that I should complain as normally people complained that the portions were too big. But on this occasion he was willing to offer the dish for half price at 10 CHF.

In the recent months, I have found other restaurants, masquerading as serving Indian cuisine, been to Sushi establishments where you need to put down a mortgage before consuming, due to cost. All the expensive dishes and frankly average food leaves me wondering, if all restaurants in Switzerland, get away with charging way too much for poor quality food?

You haven't explained how the quality of the food was poor.

Mud 08.04.2011 11:48

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Seems to depend on geography quite a bit. Here in Expat Heaven Lac Leman area portions size is pretty 'normal', you won't be stuffed and you won't be hungry. When I lived up in the Jura mountains portions were generally bigger, and average price was lower.

I just spent a week in a small-ish village near Wil (Wintertur kinda area); it was a work assignment and my host didn't cook so we ate out every meal. Clearly the largest portions I have ever seen in Switzerland- many main courses would have solidly fed two grown men, and the price was on par with the Jura mountains, i.e. far cheaper than Lac Leman area and I suspect Zurich/Basel. Excellent quality too.

Mac the Knife 08.04.2011 11:58

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ittigen (Post 1162789)
You haven't explained how the quality of the food was poor.

True, you have me bang to rights, which is why my legal career did not go to far!

Peg A 08.04.2011 11:58

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
I have eaten in the cafe spots for Migros, Manor and Coop and found the food to be decent to good... at a decent price. This is a spot I'd go for lunch when shopping or if I had a job and was on lunch break for work.

If I'm looking for a good quality meal AND am willing to pay some money for it, I'd ask my mother-in-law for advice, particularly if I were interested in "Swiss" food. She has taken us to some pretty fantastic restaurants, often a bit "off the beaten path"... at least so far as the usual places for expats I guess.


One of the restaurants she's taken me to is (I think) Gasthuas zur Sonne in Reigoldswil. They serve some really fantastic blue trout when it's in season but if you want it, you have to call ahead as they catch it fresh. Last time she took us, I'd decided to have something else with locally sourced meat and saw that they had some trout left in the tub where they keep them alive until it's time to cook them.

We've also gone for day-trips to some of the lakes and had lunch at some Michelin starred restaurants that she'd seen featured in some Swiss magazines.

In each of these cases, I've been quite satisfied with everything about the meal, starting and ending with the staff encounters as well as the food itself. (Sometimes it's been really, really fantastic.)

CH_Me 08.04.2011 13:49

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
There are plenty of places in Zug to eat for around CHF 20 at lunchtime. Most restuarants offer a lunch time special menu. Some do 3 courses for CHF 22 and i've even had a mixed grill with a huge plate of meat for CHF 24. Mostly our lunches are in the region of CHF 13-17 at self serve/pay at the counter places.

It is hit and miss, but you will find places that you like with fast service and good food. Portion sizes are something I prefer to be on the smaller side, but not so small that you have to eat again afterwards. There are a few places that i'd never go back to, but the tried and tested ones we visit often, mostly during lunch time. Evenings out are reserved for good restuarants only.

Vlh22 08.04.2011 14:04

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Try eating hospital food here... I have spent 5 months in hospital (in the last year and a half), and every stay has coincided with quite significant weight loss, which, as I'm one of those people who is generally borderline underwieght is not a good thing.

The thing that puzzles me is that this hospital has a dietician... so they would send me to the dietician, I would explain (politely) that I couldn't eat the food because it was so horrible (on top of the fact that when I'm ill I have trouble eating anyway)... and the dietician would nod along and suggest that they gave me a yoghurt with every meal... :confused:. I tried everything: carnivorous option, vegetarian option, poultry-and-fish-but-no-red-meat option... nothing worked! (On a side note, does anyone here eat meat twice a day, every day? Because that's what they gave the carnivores...)

The strange thing was, all the Swiss people said the food was great...

In comparison, when I was in a similar situation in the UK, the rest of the care was much worse, but the food... we actually had a choice of what to eat as opposed to 'this is what's on the menu tonight and you're eating it'. And when I burst into tears in the dinging room on my third day because I was feeling so ill I hadn't been able to eat anything, the staff came to my rescue and from then on I got special food drawn up from the (rather small) list of things I was able to stomach.

Guest 08.04.2011 14:19

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
I think the old 'why does a dog lick his balls' analogy is in play with quite a few restaurants here.
Although not alone, the Swiss don't do confrontation & probably suffer in silence most of the time.

Although even they can be pushed over the line, as a recent outburst by a Swiss friend in Hubertus in Zurich showed when we were presented with a laughable Penne main that was about 4 or 5 forkfulls & pretty much only contained olive oil wilted salad leaves & over-salted stoned black olives, and they wanted 22 Sfr for it. :D

Mac the Knife 08.04.2011 14:23

Re: Is it normal for Swiss restaurants to charge too much for poor quality food?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by olygirl (Post 1162723)
1. High prices? It's Zug
2. He offered you some compensation which I find fair.
3. The rent for some of these places (especially in Zug) is tremendous.
4. Was the quality poor or just the portion small?
5. And again, it's Zug.

You are right, have just been out to lunch in Baar and at my lunch in the shadow of a Brewery, the Cordon Bleu at the Brauerei was excellent as were the local specialities and the prices were in line with the portions and flavours. They were excellent too, it was quality meal in CH.

Perhaps I should have taken the hint that any town such as Zug with its Ferrari dealership in the main street was going to have restaurants out of my league. Perhaps the Big Mac Index needs to change to the Cordon Bleu index!


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