Scientific Dining: Reviews of research institute cafeterias
Siemens R&D Center
Neuperlach, Munich, Germanyby K. Retsling Dodgen and Gertie Metallkopf
[This is a shortened version. For full text see AIR 2.1.]
In a city where coffee is more expensive than beer, which is cheaper than water, the Siemens technical complex in the Neuperlach district of München offers the visiting researcher a welcome respite from the high prices that otherwise abound in the city. Situated in the northeast corner of the complex, or the Ameisenhaufe as it is affectionately known to employees, the cafeteria was recently rated second in a nationwide ranking of company cafeterias.
Quantity mit Quality
The cafeteriaís primary, and perhaps only, attraction is the food. In short, itís delicious and cheap. Where else could you get two large pieces of tender grilled salmon in a cream sauce, a lovely soup, crisply cooked vegetables, some kind of potato, a bowl of fresh berries, German bread, a glass of milk, and a large glass of fresh-pressed fruit juice for 13 DM?
The decor falls somewhat short of your finer cafeterias, resembling a carpeted warehouse with light fixtures that look like two-foot ping pong balls gently swaying from the ceiling on long cords. But who can complain about a corporate cafeteria that serves beer on tap for 1 DM?
Although German cuisine is traditionally not known for its vegetarian tendencies, the Siemens cafeteria is a haven for vegetarians in Wurst-und-Schnitzel-Land. Not only do they offer a daily vegetarian entree, but also numerous side dishes with an excellent variety of grains, vegetables, and fruits prepared in delicious and diverse ways. One of the most commendable daily features is the offering of several varieties of fresh-squeezed juices, with combinations such a strawberry-orange-apple, orange-mango-papaya, avocado-banana-apple, and so on.
Efficiency, Deftness, Velocity
But the most remarkable feature of the Siemens cafeteria is the Efficient Cashiers, who tally up the several items on your tray before you can even put it down in front of them. The Efficient Cashiers have afforded the authors many lunch hours of Performance Art entertainment, as their deftness and velocity are as graceful as a ballet.
Trendiness and Sausages
In terms of food, at first glance there are various indicators of trendiness, but a closer inspection reveals also enormous sausages, half-chickens, beer, and pretzelsóthe most spiessig Bavarian fare. Another mixed bag with regard to trendiness is the fashion parade provided by the customers. Clothing styles include blue jeans, shorts, pastel-colored suits on male executives, see-through blouses, spandex pants and miniskirts, and frilly Bavarian skirts and blouses. We can only conclude that the highly progressive thinking evidenced at the Siemens cafeteria transcends adherence to trends. The décor is unambiguously utilitarian.
Rating the cafeteria on the number of pictures of bearded men is easy, since there arenít any. In fact, there are no pictures of any sort unless you count the icons on the silverware holders depicting forks, knives, and spoons (the icons are there in case you donít recognize the actual items which fill the compartments).
In summary, the authors have found the Siemens cafeteria to be an excellent, inexpensive lunchtime eatery; in fact we missed it on the weekends.
After several weeks of eating in the Siemens cafeteria, imagine our surprise to arrive at the cafeteria one Monday to find it... GONE! Completely dismantled. However, all is not lost. To the contrary, there are two additional cafeterias at the same site offering the identical food and lack of ambiance.
Trendiness: N/A ( see above )
Bearded Men: 0
Copyright © 1996 The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). All rights reserved.