Canteen love: 8 company restaurants and dining halls worth (at least) one visit

A place of social interaction or a pure nightmare? The latter is mostly a thing of the past: Canteens have changed. They no longer stand for stale and lousy cuisine, but rather for inexpensive and comfortable lunch. Nutritionist and food trend expert Hanni Rützler even describes today’s company restaurants as ‘emotional showcases of corporate culture’ (Food Report 2019). In fact, the big restaurants sometimes even offer very special extras – we decided to take a look around ...

Canteen listicle

A student meal that looks quite impressive

Student canteen

Many people like to remember their student days – but certainly not because of the canteen food. For very little money, you can get a full meal in the 875 dining halls and cafeterias at German universities, but people hoping for culinary highlights will be disappointed. Petra Martini, head of the university canteen in Rostock and a trained top restaurateur, made it her task six years ago to change this situation – with success: Her canteen is considered one of the best in the country and has already been awarded the ‘Golden Tray’ by the student magazine ‘Unicum’.

Between gourmet food and aesthetics

gourmet canteen

‘Erste Group’ from Vienna proves that the canteen experience can be positive all round. The chef of the innovative canteen is none other than Michelin-decorated chef Alfred Schoch.  With its modern design and show kitchen, the food is hardly distinguishable from that in top restaurants. The concept of gourmet canteens is not the only change. The trend is also increasingly moving in the direction that company restaurants are looking more and more impressive. One showcase example is the Linde canteen in Munich-Pullach, which was redesigned by well-known architect Wolfgang Kergaßner in 2006.

The largest canteen in the world: Lunch app Lunchit 

the biggest canteen

SPENDIT AG has reinvented the luncheon voucher concept with its Lunchit app. After lunch, employees simply take a picture of their receipt with the app. These receipts are forwarded to the accounting department on a monthly basis, and the employee automatically receives the reimbursement transferred to his or her account with their payroll (up to 968 euros net per year). The fact that the app is so simple to use – without annoying paperwork and free of tax and social security contributions – makes every employer even more attractive.

The best canteens in Germany 

The best canteen

Mirror, mirror on the wall - which is the best canteen of them all? To find out, Food & Health e.V. and FOCUS magazine conducted a nationwide test and determined the 50 best company restaurants in Germany. First place went to car manufacturer Audi. The canteen at the company’s headquarters in Ingolstadt was able to score most points. Second and third place went to engineering company Linde in Pullach and pharmaceutical company Roche with its canteen in Penzberg.

10,000 square metres for the big appetite – Europe’s largest canteen

1000 m canteen

The ‘largest canteen in Europe’, self-proclaimed by its operator Eurest, is located in a Vienna office complex. ‘Quartier Sechs’ at the Austria Campus houses four restaurants and two cafés on a whole hectare, which can seat up to 1,800 hungry guests when fully operational. But the restaurant is not limited to local office employees; people from the outside are also invited.

OK, Google ... where should I eat lunch?

Ok, Google

In Silicon Valley, major IT companies lure their employees with high-end, free food – above all Google: The search engine operator’s employees do not have to google long to find locations for their perfect lunch; they just have to step outside their office door. At the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, they can choose between 18 cafés with different concepts – fresh, delicious and with many healthy alternatives. And the best part: The employer pays for it – yahoo!

The smallest canteen in the world

The smallest Canteen

No time for lunch and often the only option left is to go to the unhealthy snack machine – who has not experienced it before? The start-up company ‘My Minute Meal’ wants to change this problem. On about one square metre, its ‘how I like’ refrigerator provides offices with their own canteen with delicious and healthy products – mainly organic and regional. From fresh salads to tomato soups and coconut water, employees can help themselves without a guilty conscience. The refrigerator is regularly refilled with fresh food, and hungry customers can simply pay by credit or EC card or with their smartphone.

It does not get any greener

Everything is green

Who says the canteen only serves schnitzel and curry sausage – in this case, at least not meat-based: You will not find animal ingredients in the ‘St. Paul Veggie Zone’. Since 2018, the canteen of the Erlangen-Nuremberg student union has been serving exclusively vegan meals, two lunches a day, from Monday to Thursday. This change is well received: PETA rewarded the institution for this effort with four stars and the top spot in 2018 for the most vegan-friendly cafeteria.

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