Initiative Gastgeberkreis | Berlin

Spectacular protest at the German Bundestag

Served was "Das letzte Ma(hl)": Inedible creations like "Frustbraten".
Served was "Das letzte Ma(hl)": Inedible creations like "Frustbraten".

On Monday, the Gastgeberkreis ("Host Circle"), an initiative of over 200 small and large restaurateurs, drew attention to the currently very difficult situation of the industry with a spectacular staging directly at the German Bundestag in Berlin.

For this one day, the well-known sausage stand "Wurst am Brandenburger Tor" was transformed into a memorial to the German restaurant industry. With the production "Das letzte Ma(h)l" (a pun: it translates with the "h" to "the last dish", without to "the last time") they offered special and extremely indigestible dishes - prepared from newspaper headlines with promises of the politicians of the last months. and all served with a pun.

"Currywurst mit Perspektivlosigkeitssoße" ("currywurst with a sauce of hopelessness") as snack of the day, "Frustenbraten" ("frustration roast") as main course and for dessert "Große Grütze mit Ungleichheitssoße" ("large jelly with a side of inequality") - the whole washed down with a glass of "Wutsprudel" ("anger sparkling water"). It all sounds inedible and indigestible and is exactly the message that the host circle wants to send to the German Bundestag. Because decorated with empty promises of the policy, which would have accumulated in the last months, showed according to the initiative all courts one thing: "They can fill no empty stomachs and let the catering trade starve".

The well-known sausage stand "Wurst am Brandenburger Tor" was transformed into a memorial to German gastronomy for one day.
The well-known sausage stand "Wurst am Brandenburger Tor" was transformed into a memorial to German gastronomy for one day.
"The catering trade is one of the special victims of this pandemic. Through no fault of our own, we have fallen on hard times. We therefore demand that we be compensated 100 percent for all losses," said Mirko Silz, CEO of FR L'Osteria SE and co-initiator of the Gastgeberkreis . In concrete terms, Silz continued, this means that the governmental financial aides should not only be extended in time until the end of the year, as announced by Altmeier and Scholz, "but in line with the aid from November/December 2020 via damage compensation must also be provided above the current thresholds of EU state aid law". Still quite a few hosts would wait for the promised compensation payments.

Making the voice of employees heard

In particular, the smaller and partly family-run restaurant and hotel businesses are also suffering from the situation and paint a gloomy overall picture of the industry. "For me, it is important to make the voices of all employees in the hotel and restaurant industry heard with this action. Many of them have not been able to earn an income for more than a year and are reorienting themselves professionally in large parts. Our industry is therefore in danger of bleeding to death", says Kerstin Rapp-Schwan, Managing Director of Schwan Restaurants in Düsseldorf.

No planning security

Concrete plans on the part of the policy, how it can go on now exactly with the catering trade, are missing  completely, stated the representatives of the Gastgeberkreis. Here the view goes for example to France, where already days ago completely concrete suggestions were presented to openings and binding statements on the part of the policy were made. Dr. Jörg Haas, Managing Director of the Invite Group and the Kameha Grand-Hotel Bonn: "With our action, we would also like to point out that we feel forgotten by politics. We demand a quick concept from the government to reopen not only the outdoor but also the indoor gastronomy. Our hygiene concepts have been in place since autumn 2020 and have been constantly adapted to the current situation."

Support from retailers

A good two weeks ago, the Gastgeberkreis announced that it would be cooperating with the pro bono initiative  "Händler helfen Händlern" (Retailers Helping Retailers), because retailers are suffering similarly to the catering trade from the consequences of the pandemic. Marcus Diekmann, initiator of "Händler helfen Händlern" and CEO of Rose Bikes explains: "Trade and gastronomy are the most important drivers of lively inner cities and strengthen each other - if gastronomy dies, trade dies too". They have a common social mission to transform the city centres into places of encounter and experience. Therefore, they fully support the demands of the gastronomy and are pleased about the strong signal that was set with the action in Berlin.

The whole action "Das letzte Ma(h)l" was a unique staging for one day and was carried out under the valid Corona regulations, according to the initiators.

About the Gastgeberkreis
The Gastgeberkreis (Host Circle) is an association of entrepreneurs from the hospitality industry who are directly affected by the Corona crisis. The aim of this initiative is to sharpen the perception of gastronomy in politics and society.